The High-End Expansion Of 7-Eleven

From its humble beginnings as a company that sold ice to households without refrigerators in 1927 to an international convenience store chain selling tacos and espresso, 7-Eleven has done a lot of evolving and it's not yet finished reimaging its brand.

In the early days of the business, it sold some essential food items, according to CompaniesHistory.com, and began to sell liquor and beer in the days after Prohibition was repealed in 1933. It was in 1946 that the chain of stores became known as 7-Eleven to reflect their hours of operation of 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days per week, according to Britannica. The business also grew internationally, with a significant presence in Asia, particularly in Japan. Today, 7-Eleven operates more than 81,000 stores in 18 countries.  In its international stores, quintessential convenience store to-go food items like hot dogs are replaced with regional favorites like chicken satay and sticky rice.

Although the company has been long known for its Slurpee, a cold drink launched in 1966 (per CNN), and the Big Gulp, a 32-ounce cup for fountain drinks, which was test marketed in 1976 (per Iowa State Daily), 7-Eleven is broadening its food and beverage operations, according to its website. At more than 90 years old, 7-Eleven doesn't believe it's too old for change. In recent years, 7-Eleven has launched an upscale line of stores that test out new concepts as it continues to evolve and seeks to meet customers' wants and needs.

Focusing on high-end stores

It's right in its name — 7-Eleven is once again evolving with its new Evolution Stores. The ninth Evolution Store in the United States opened in June 2022 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where four others are already up and running (per 7-Eleven Corporate). 

Used as a sort of lab to track consumer habits and tastes, the Evolution Stores go way beyond Slurpee drinks and Big Gulps. The store in Dallas offers customizable beverage options, a cigar humidor, digital innovations, and the Laredo Taco Company, which serves authentic tacos and offers a salsa bar. The Dallas 7-Eleven location also includes a covered patio where people can order frozen margaritas and tap beer, according to 7-ElevenNACS Magazine describes the Evolution stores as a place for 7-Eleven to try out concepts and ideas. The Evolution Stores have updated the typical convenience store look to be more sleek and modern, according to NACS Magazine.

7-Eleven stores have often been the destination for a person in need of a jolt of caffeine, and the Evolution Stores will continue to offer that. The newest Dallas location has a self-serve espresso machine with items including Cold Foam, Caramel Macchiato, Dirty Chai (a chai tea latte with added double shot of espresso), White Mocha and Horchata Latte (per 7-Eleven Corporate). But don't fear, convenience store food lovers — the 7-Eleven Evolution Stores also sell Slurpee drinks and hot dogs you've come to know and love.