Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 38

cover story

his initial reaction when he learned of his Hall of
Fame selection. And in true servant leadership style,
he quickly begins to talk about his team and how this
honor is really a reflection of their efforts.
"I'm most happy for our team. It's our franchisees
and the 7-Eleven Inc. team that supports them that do
a great job. My job is to be there for them, to serve
them," he said.
If someone were to ask his employees about his
leadership style, DePinto believes they would say he's
a supportive leader, always asking them what they
need to get the job done.
"I also think they would say I tend to be pretty
aggressive to get stuff done and have a can-do attitude," he added. "We may be a large organization,
but that doesn't mean we have to act like one. We

Convenience Store News Editorial Director Don Longo (center) and
incoming Coca-Cola North America President Jim Dinkins (right)
presented DePinto with his Hall of Fame award.

can be nimble and quick."
Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, 7-Eleven's executive vice
president and chief merchandising officer, has known
DePinto since age 20 when they were classmates at

'A Healthy Tension' With Franchisees
Being a predominantly franchised business has its challenges, 7-Eleven Inc.
CEO Joseph DePinto acknowledges. When
asked what he thinks 7-Eleven's franchisees would say about him as a leader, his
response is candid: "Depends on which
franchisee you ask."
In October, the National Coalition of
Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees
(NCASEF) filed a lawsuit against its parent company, claiming that 7-Eleven Inc.
has not fulfilled its promise of treating the
franchises as independent contractors and
business owners. NCASEF represents the
owners of nearly 7,000 franchised locations in the United States.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for
the Central District of California, challenges
certain provisions of the 7-Eleven Franchise
Agreement and seeks monetary damages, attorney's fees and costs, and other
relief for claims relating to unpaid overtime wages and unreimbursed expenses.
According to the suit, franchisees have long
complained that their parent company has
been chipping away at their profits, increasing their costs, and exercising more control

over what is supposed to be an independent operation. Examples they cite include
directing franchisees to sell any good or
service for less than the cost of acquiring and selling the same, and imposing a
regressive royalty structure that penalizes
franchisees for increasing sales.
About a month later, on Nov. 10, it
was announced that during a NCASEF
board meeting, the presidents of all 43
Franchise Owners Associations (FOAs)
voted unanimously to not attend the
7-Eleven Experience, the parent company's
annual tradeshow for its franchisees.
During a recent interview with
Convenience Store News, DePinto spoke
about the relationship between the parent
company and the franchisees, calling it "a
healthy tension."
The chief executive said he hosts a
CEO Roundtable and meets with franchisees formally three to four times a year.
He also spends as much time as possible
out in the field.
"I was in a store in Cicero [Illinois] yesterday that had just been remodeled. This
franchisee is doing well, but I saw some

38 Convenience Store News | DECEMBER 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

more opportunity to draw more traffic to
his store with signage. So, we're going to
get him more signage," DePinto said.
Sharing information is a crucial piece of
the parent-franchisee partnership, according to the CEO. Because 20 percent of
7-Eleven's stores are corporate-operated,
DePinto noted that the retailer is able to
testi ideas and then share the results with
the franchisees.
"We explain the reasons why we're doing
something; we share the facts with them.
Most of them will come along, but there will
those who dig in their heels," he said.
Because all of 7-Eleven's franchisees
bought into a system that offers support
and branding to them, DePinto encourages them to take advantage of that
system. He also pointed out that some of
the retailer's best ideas have come from
its franchisee community.
"We've made a lot of progress," he
said. "We're a large business. When a
franchisee has an issue, it may not be a
big deal in the grand scheme, but to that
franchisee, it's a huge deal. We have to
always remember that."


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Convenience Store News - December 2017

Contents
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - Cover1
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - Cover2
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 3
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 4
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 5
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - Contents
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 7
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 8
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 9
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 10
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 11
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 12
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Convenience Store News - December 2017 - Cover3
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Convenience Store News - December 2017 - U1
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