Military veteran’s franchise program earns 7-Eleven recognition.
7-Eleven Inc. has been named one of the Top 100 Military Friendly Employers, a list published annually by G.I. Jobs magazine. 7-Eleven was the only food retailer included and, among all retailers on the list, ranked third.
“The company prides itself on a diverse work force and its military-friendly hiring and franchising practices. The company’s franchise program offers discounted franchise fees to retired or separated veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces who have been honorably discharged from the service,” The G.I. Jobs profile read.
In 2009, 7-Eleven introduced a military veterans’ franchise program offering discounted franchise fees to retired or separated veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces who have been honorably discharged from the service. Qualified veterans who become first-time 7-Eleven franchisees receive a 10% discount on the initial franchise fee for the first 7-Eleven store they franchise. This discount can range from $1,000 up to approximately $35,000, depending on the store.
Since the program launched 18 months ago, 16 veterans have become 7-Eleven franchisees. Another 18 have applied to become new franchisees. The new business owners have served in the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marines.
“Being named as one of the top military-friendly employers is one of the greatest honors our organization could receive,” said 7-Eleven president and CEO Joe DePinto, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and former U.S. Army officer. DePinto has extended the military-friendly environment to the company’s home office in Dallas as well as its field offices across the country.
“The military is an outstanding training ground,” DePinto said. ”It teaches and instills values based leadership and the qualities of adaptability, perseverance, and a can-do mentality. These traits are important to military personnel, but also much sought after in the business world.”
Dennis Wallis, who was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force in 1977, and his wife, Sandi, were the first to take advantage of 7-Eleven’s veterans’ program. The couple acquired a 7-Eleven franchise in Redmond, Ore., in late 2009. Wallis said the most rewarding aspect of their new business has been the number of new friends they have met in the community. ”We can’t go anywhere in town where we don’t run into people we’ve met as customers in our store.”
Former U.S. Marine Jim Dixon franchised a 7-Eleven store in Aurora, Colo. with his wife, Charlotte, last May. When asked what the biggest challenges were, Dixon said hiring and keeping good people and the hours needed to start a successful business.
Located within a mile of seven schools, the store has a steady stream of customers weekday mornings with parents coming in for coffee, snacks and lunches for kids, and a “huge after-school rush,” according to Dixon. Last summer, frozen Slurpee beverages were hot-sellers with his young clientele.
“The best part has been getting to know my wife in a work environment,” Dixon said. ”Our skills and personalities really complement each other. I’m the optimist, and she’s the realist,” he joked.
G.I. Jobs’ rankings of the Top 100 Military Friendly Employers are based on a survey that assesses a company’s long-term commitment to hiring former military, recruiting and hiring efforts and results, policies for Reserve/Guard members called to active duty and the presence of special recruitment military programs. For its policies for active-duty Reserve and Guard members, 7-Eleven scored in the top 10 of all ranked companies on the G.I. Jobs list and placed 41 overall.
Approximately 5,000 U.S. companies (with a minimum of $500 million in annual revenues) were eligible for the Top 100. Only 2% made the list. 7-Eleven actively recruits for new franchisees and management trainees at military job fairs and advertises in military-focused publications about opportunities with the company. Later this year, the company plans a cause-marketing campaign with its National Coalition of Franchise Owners Associations and a number of its suppliers to benefit a military veterans hiring campaign.
In another national ranking, Forbes Magazine selected 7-Eleven as the second best “bang for your buck” franchise opportunity in the U.S. The business publication measured 100 of the most recognized franchise brands and selected the top 20 that delivered the best opportunity for potential business owners. Companies were reviewed on minimal initial investment, number of locations, survival rate and training hours measured against start-up costs.