7-Eleven support crucial for franchisee opening in COVID-19 crisis

By Sarah Stowe | 18 May 2020 View comments

New 7-Eleven franchisee Yasir Iftihkar couldn’t have opened his Jerrabomberra store at a more challenging time.

Yet despite the difficulties of starting out as a new business owner in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, thanks to the support from 7-Eleven, everything has gone smoothly.

“With COVID19 happening, the 7-Eleven team, in addition to the usual support for new franchisees, have installed Perspex screens at the counter, hand sanitizer units in-store for customers, and lots of social distancing signs so everyone can shop safely.

“I have about 10 new casual team members, mostly from the local Queanbeyan area, and my daughter also helps me in the store from time to time, so having those extra safeguards in place so quickly was very important for us to be able to serve our customers safely,” Yasir explains.

“The 7-Eleven team have been excellent, getting the store open on schedule and helping me get settled into the new store. That support has been ongoing from a range of areas from my retail business manager and regional manager, the retail specialists and even someone from training has come to help me review my training opportunities for my team,” he says.

While the store has started off well, Yasir points out getting to know the customers is taking longer than he expected.

“We are getting to meet the local community, but it is a bit slower to connect with people as they are spending more time at home. The team and I are excited to get to know everyone better as they start to get back into their routines in the weeks and months ahead.”

Already Yasir’s team is sharing ideas on how to deliver a first class customer experience.

“We’ve had fantastic feedback from locals on the service we’re providing and the cleanliness of the store. My team knows that making every experience exceptional for our customers, from the service to the temperature of the coffee, is incredibly important so we have all been focused on delivering that.”

Of course as a franchisee Yasir has not only the support of the head office team at 7-Eleven but access to other franchisees in the convenience store network. And he’s been making the most of this opportunity to learn early on about retail success.

“I have met a number of other local franchisees who have made me feel welcome and have helped me with ideas on how to make my store a success. I’m very pleased to be part of the 7-Eleven family, and to have my store open.”

Why buy a 7-Eleven franchise?

Yasir was previously a sales representative for a number of the convenience chain’s suppliers.  The ambition to start his own family business motivated him to move from one side of the convenience store counter to the other.

“I used to work for some of 7-Eleven’s major suppliers as an account manager. I wanted to own my own business, and I was drawn to 7-Eleven as it is strong and reputable brand.”

And when the opportunity came up to franchise the Jerrabomberra store, it was the perfect solution for Yasir – a great business opportunity in the community that the family now call home.

“My wife, our three children and I moved here in 2014. My eldest daughter is completing her HSC, my son is starting secondary school and our youngest daughter is four. The kids will hopefully be starting back at soccer and in school sometime soon, and the whole family is looking forward to getting to spend time with our neighbours and community as soon as it’s possible.”