Everything’s Coming Up 7 (and 11)

Leading c-store retailer 7-Eleven is celebrating its 81st birthday on July 11, and as a thanks to customers is offering free 7.11-ounce Slurpees at participating stores.

Customers can pour their favorite Slurpee flavor in colorful, 7.11-ounce “birthday” cups throughout the day, while cup supplies last.

Home of the Big Bite Oscar-Mayer all-beef hot dog and the number-one retailer of grilled hot dogs, 7-Eleven is also celebrating National Hot Dog Month in July by offering a month-long promotion: a quarter-pound Big Bite hot dog and Big Gulp drink for just $1.99.

Also in July the retailer is offering the first-ever Monster Energy Slurpee, called Black Ice, a black energy Slurpee packed with a full load of Monster’s potent energy blend. It’s the first frozen Monster beverage and the first variety not sold in a can.

“In appreciation of our loyal customer base, we started giving away Slurpee drinks on our 75th birthday in 2002,” said Jay Wilkins, 7-Eleven brand manager for Slurpee and Big Gulp fountain drinks. “Customers thanked us, and we’ve been doing it ever since. Now July 11, or 7-Eleven Day, has become Customer Appreciation Day or try-your-favorite-Slurpee-on-us day.”

Viral marketing through the newly redesigned www.slurpee.com Web site and the Slurpee Nation social network – along with Slurpee street teams in select cities and store events across the U.S. – are playing a big part in spreading the “7-Eleven Birthday/Customer Appreciation/Free Slurpee” message.

But in Kennewick, Wash., every day is Slurpee Day. The town was recently crowned the new Slurpee capital of the world, and on Free Slurpee Day, 7-Eleven franchisee Don Marriotto expects his store to be swamped.

“Even though we will be giving away free Slurpee drinks on 7-Eleven Day, July 11 also will be our biggest Slurpee sales day of the year,” he said. “We will have customers lined up outside waiting to get in the store and to the Slurpee machine to create their favorite frozen concoction.”

Marriotto’s No. 1 Slurpee-selling store offers 12 different flavors of the popular beverage, and he expects to have the local ABC-TV affiliate broadcasting from their store that birthday morning.

In honor of its birthday, 7-Eleven has highlighted some of its favorite milestones:

 

  • Slurpee (1967, 41 years) – 7-Eleven actually began selling frozen carbonated drinks two years before coming up with the Slurpee moniker, named for the straw’s slurping sound.
  • Big Bite (1988, 20 years) – Although 7-Eleven has been selling grilled hot dogs since the early 1970s, the Big Bite name was coined 20 years ago when Oscar Mayer created an exclusive spice formulation for the winning wiener.
  • Big Gulp, Super Big Gulp, Double Gulp fountain drinks (1976, 1983 and 1988; 32, 25 and 20 years, respectively) – 7-Eleven was the first to introduce self-serve soda fountains to Americans, which mirrored the success of its hot coffee in to-go cups.
  • To-Go Coffee (1964, 44 years) – Coffee was 7-Eleven’s first venture into the world of self-serve beverages. It must have been a good idea. Today, most convenience retailers and quick-service restaurants offer some type of self-service beverages.
  • Franchised Stores (1964, 44 years) – The same year 7-Eleven introduced hot to-go coffee on the East Coast, they looked to expand the 7-Eleven convenience chain to the West Coast with its first franchised, or owner-operated stores. California, the first state offering 7-Eleven franchises to individual entrepreneurs, today boasts more 7-Eleven stores than any other state. The company now offers franchising across the country.
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