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The Detroit News reports that 7-Eleven currently is embarking on a "road show" of sorts, going around the country to show franchisees the exotic and low-carb foods that it intends to promote in a bid to lure new customers.

Instead of hot dogs and Slurpees, the paper reports, 7-Eleven is "adding fresh sandwiches, like roasted chicken with pesto on a Parmesan kaiser roll, or offering grilled rollups like spinach and artichoke taquitos, which appeal to people who love the hot dip but need to eat over their dashboards." In addition, it is offering energy drinks and coffees that it will sell as being comparable to national brands but at a lower price point.

Part of the show was devoted to "brand names like Heinz and Hershey (that) were among the many sampling carts hawking their wares." For example, the Heinz cart demonstrated a flourless turtle brownie that will show up in 7-Eleven stores in a few months.

"We want 7-Eleven to be thought of as a very exciting places to go to see all of the latest new products," 7-Eleven CEO Jim Keyes told the paper, noting that "he sees 7-Eleven as a laboratory to test consumer preferences and changing trends. Because the company can move products quickly through its 25,000 stores, (Keyes) believes 7-Eleven can take risks on new items that other retailers cannot."

The paper also reports that Keyes "wants 7-Eleven to explore its potential in the financial services field. He sees a day when the chain's debit cards are found in every wallet, virtually eliminating the need to carry cash. The company has partnered with MasterCard on its new E-Cash card, a mix of a debit and credit card."
KC's View:
This is interesting on a variety of levels - the company's willingness to engage with a new customer demographic, it's desire to expand its portfolio to include financial services, and, finally, the way it is marketing itself to manufacturers.

And the walls between formats continue to come tumbling down.