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DALLAS -- 7-Eleven, Inc., based here, said yesterday that its new combined distribution center (CDC) in Auburn, a suburb of Seattle, Wash., has allowed the convenience retailer to launch daily delivery of fresh prepared foods to customers in the Pacific Northwest. Through partnerships with multiple food companies, 7-Eleven is able to offer pastries, gourmet sandwiches, wraps, entrees, and other ready-to-eat and perishable foods in the region. The CDC opened March 1.
Three hundred and forty-eight 7-Eleven stores throughout the greater Puget Sound and Portland, Ore. areas now provide a variety of 7-Eleven's gourmet Big Eats Deli prepared foods. Recipes for all new items are developed by a team of master bakers, gourmet chefs, nutritionists, or culinary experts, then prepared fresh daily in a state-of-the-art commissary kitchen in quantities based on each store's specific order. As well as proprietary fresh foods, the CDC allows 7-Eleven to add to its selection of other perishable items such as dairy, fresh, 100 percent juices, entrees, and produce.
To meet the challenge of delivering a daily selection of fresh foods, the company has completely upgraded its infrastructure, from new store displays to a proprietary network of a bakery, commissary, and distribution center with a 22-truck fleet. A store can place an order and have the freshly prepared items on its store shelves in less than 24 hours.
"The bakeries, commissary kitchens, and distribution centers operate seven days a week, 365 days a year," noted Scott Robertson, 7-Eleven sales and marketing manager for the Pacific Northwest Division, in a statement. "Daily delivery means just that -- 7-Eleven stores can place orders and get fresh product every single day of the year." With the company's proprietary retail information system, each store can customize its order to provide the items its customers want.
"Fresh bakery is going to be a great addition for us" added Robertson. "Already, customers are showing they have a taste for it. Sales of brownies have been great. Also popular are Glazed Maple Bars and Boston-creme filled doughnuts."
Additionally, with the CDC delivery system, local food companies can make one delivery to a central location for distribution to local stores. Delivery to hundreds of stores in the area prohibited many local products from being available at 7-Eleven. Local food companies benefiting from the new distribution center include Wilcox Dairy of Roy, Wash.; Duck Delivery Produce of Portland, Ore.; Harry's Foods of Portland, Ore.; Tim's Cascade Chips of Auburn, Wash.; Juanita's Hispanic Products of Hood River, Ore.; J.C. Wright of Seattle; and Airline Catering, supplier of Tillamook and Oberto Meat Snacks, both local companies.
Daily delivery also permits 7-Eleven to add other fresh items to its selection, among them fruit salads, seasonal whole and cut fruit, fresh-squeezed juices, produce directly from the farmer's market, milk, eggs, and bread.
Further, 7-Eleven's delivery system, by combining a number of products into a single truck delivery, reduces the number of store deliveries made each day from eight to approximately one. "Trucks roll into the stores early in the morning before dawn when customer traffic is low," said Robertson said. "The average delivery takes just 12 minutes, and the store is stocked and ready to go before the morning rush hits."
"We know the product will convince consumers about the quality and value of our new fresh foods," he continued. "To accommodate the rollout of so many new items, participating 7-Eleven stores have been upgraded with new pastry cases and open-air displays, and many stores feature upgraded coffee bars."
7-Eleven, Inc. operates or franchises approximately 5,800 stores in the United States and Canada and licenses approximately 22,000 stores in 17 other countries and U.S. territories worldwide.