What inspired 7-Eleven to implement the W.E. Take the Lead initiative?

Less than one-third of franchised businesses in the U.S. are owned by women, a statistic 7-Eleven would like to see rise. About 51 percent of the U.S. population is made up of females. During this year’s Women’s History Month we will hold our second Women’s Franchise Giveaway competition. 7-Eleven appreciates diversity within its franchise system and women, in particular, play a huge part in the current business environment.

Given that your franchise system is so large, what other steps have you taken to increase the diversity among your franchisees?

In 2015, 7-Eleven introduced a veteran franchise giveaway competition called “Operation: Take Command.” We wanted to ensure veterans were aware that 7-Eleven was an option for them post-military. We partner with local organizations, business leaders, elected officials and Chambers of Commerce throughout the U.S. to amplify and increase diversity in our system.

What advice do you have for franchisors who are looking to increase the diversity among their franchisees?

Diversifying the franchise base is imperative to our business at 7-Eleven. Initiatives like the W.E. Take the Lead Women’s Franchise Giveaway allow us to encourage female business leaders to join the 7-Eleven family in their local communities.

In general, what steps do you take to assist new franchisees with opening their new locations? What support systems does the brand have that are unique to 7-Eleven?

A 7‑Eleven franchise store comes fully operational so Franchisees can skip the headaches of getting started on their own. We take care of real estate, zoning, store build-out and equipment installation. Not only that, but new Franchisees attend an introductory class at our headquarters in Irving, TX to learn more about the brand. Following the class, they head back to their communities to engage in a six to eight week in-store training program. The company also provides each Franchisee with their own 7‑Eleven Franchise Sales Representative and a Field Consultant to guide them through franchise ownership and provide advice regarding the day-to-day details and challenges they face while running their new business.

Finally, what do you see on the horizon for diversity in franchising? Do you see other brands following your lead by implementing similar initiatives?

The U.S. is increasingly diverse, and franchise businesses are following the trend. Like 7-Eleven, other franchisors are providing creative ways to market franchise opportunities.