7-Eleven switches up foodservice during COVID-19

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Pivoting during the pandemic, 7-Eleven is offering its foodservice items in ready-to-bake form at home, including its cheese and pepperoni pizzas, chicken tenders, buffalo and spicy bone-in-wings, breaded boneless wings and chicken taquitos.

While the fresh meals don’t quite fall under the retailer’s impressive store brand program, the retailer has been innovating in the last year with exclusive, grab-and-go meals — and of course its Slurpee. 

Recent launches include pulled pork and smoked turkey sliders, a first-of-its-kind breakfast pizza, gingerbread-flavored lattes, a Jarritos fountain drink for Big Gulp cups and more. The Slurpee recently added a flavor inspired by 7-Eleven’s store brand energy drink Quake.

“Although fresh meals do not fall under the private brand portfolio, we do listen to customer feedback and tune into industry trends to enhance our assortment in all categories, whether it be organic cold-pressed juice under the 7-Select label or health and beauty products under the 24/7 Life label,” said Jack Stout, senior vice president of merchandising and demand chain, during Store Brands profile on the chain.

"Before the pandemic, customers were out and on-the-go, grabbing breakfast on the way to work, buying lunch while running errands or indulging in an after-school Slurpee treat," said Robin Murphy, 7-Eleven’s senior director of fresh foods. "That has all changed and people are home and eating together as families. We can give them the convenience of picking up a couple of pizzas and wings to prepare when they are ready to enjoy them."

The retailer is now serving up take-and-bake items as opposed to its breadth of on-the-go meals. The items can be purchased through its 7NOW app. The retailer also recently included alcohol on the app to help better serve consumers stuck at home, too.

Baked in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, pizzas are ready in approximately 20 minutes or less. Taquitos, chicken tenders and wings are baked in a 450-degree oven and are ready in under 25 mins. Cooking instructions and times are included on each package. Each product should be baked in an oven-safe pan and have a best by date of 3 days.

"7-Eleven has been adapting and changing product selection to provide customers with what they want and need during this pandemic," said Murphy.  "Our stores provide quick in-and-out options to grab a meal, snack or drink."