7-eleven-debuts-food-focused-lab-store.png Photos courtesy of 7-Eleven Inc.

7-Eleven debuts food-focused lab store

Test unit in Dallas highlights Laredo Taco Company brand

Organic Slurpees and a quick-service taqueria menu from its Laredo Taco Company highlight the offerings at 7-Eleven Inc.’s new testing-ground store in Dallas.

The Irving, Texas-based convenience-store brand, with more than 67,000 locations in 17 countries, officially opened the test store just west of downtown Dallas on March 22. It prominently incorporates the Laredo Taco concept, for which it acquired the trademark rights in January 2018 when it completed the $3.3 billion purchase of 1,030 Sunoco and Stripes locations.

“Convenience retailing is light years away from the days of bread and milk being sold from ice docks in 1927, and the industry is changing at a faster rate than ever before,” said Chris Tanco, 7-Eleven chief operating officer, in a statement. The lab store location is less than two miles from the original Southland Ice House in the Dallas neighborhood where 7-Eleven began more than 90 years ago.

“This new lab store will serve as a place to test, learn and iterate new platforms and products to see what really resonates with customers and how we can use those learnings to influence future store designs,” Tanco said.

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The lab store occupies space in the multi-use residential-retail Sylvan | Thirty development, featuring Laredo Taco Company branding on the first floor and a modest 7-Eleven signage behind glass on the upper level.

Laredo Taco Company, developed in South Texas, offers tortillas made in stores every day as well as a salsa bar with guacamole and pico de gallo made onsite. Tacos, quesadillas and plate meals include carne guisada, barbacoa, picadillo bistec, carnitas and breakfast egg-based tacos.

Prices range from $2.49 each for tacos to $5.49 for street taco combinations. Plate meals for enchiladas and fajitas are $4.99. Menus are digital.

Other innovations in the lab store include:

  • Customizable coffee drinks, cold-pressed juices, smoothies and agua frescas.
  • Tap beverages, nitro cold brew coffee, kombucha and organic teas.
  • An alcove called “The Cellar” dedicated to an expanded selection of wines and craft beers, with a nearby growler station that features a rotating selection of local craft beer, cider and ales on tap.
  • Draft beverages can be consumed on site with meals.
  • A cold treats bar with frozen yogurt, ice cream and multiple toppings.
  • Cookies, croissants and other baked goods prepared in the store.
  •  Scan-and-pay digital technology that allows customers to skip the checkout line and pay for non-age-restricted purchases on their smartphones.
  •  Indoor and patio restaurant-style seating in the Laredo Taco Company portion of the store as well as bar-seating across the front windows in the retail space.

“A lot has changed in retail and continues to change rapidly, especially the shopping experience,” Tanco said. “This lab store is customer-focused and will explore new ideas that weren’t even on the retail radar a few months ago.”

Of 7-Eleven’s owned, franchised and licensed stores, 11,800 are in the North America. 7-Eleven is owned by Tokyo-based Seven & I Holdings Co. Ltd.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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