Updated: May 21, 2020
On Friday 13th March 7-Eleven head office sent out a directive via email to its franchisees requiring that all stores be sanitised, every hour at “all stations of public interaction” in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
On the face of it, this initiative seems to be both reasonable and necessary. However, given that many 7-Eleven franchisees are already working around the clock to make ends meet, this may well be the straw that breaks the franchisees’ backs.
7-Eleven franchisees, like every other small business owner in Australia, are already feeling the pinch as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic – people are raiding supermarkets, not the mini-markets. 7-Eleven is a hallmark of US consumerism that Australians embraced for its convenience – they’re everywhere and they’re always open, until they’re not.
7-Eleven’s sanitisation directive has only added to franchisees’ hardship. One franchise owner said that when you take into consideration all the points of public interaction in the store, which is inclusive of Slurpee machines, ATM pin pads, coffee stations, napkin holders and so on it makes up “80% of the store and it takes almost an hour to do with one staff member trying to upkeep with the customers at the same time”. This same franchise owner, who wishes to remain unnamed has expressed that he cannot “employ another staff member, as there is no more money to be allocated”.
Another franchise owner has stated that in order to upkeep with this new protocol, he has to “close the store for 10-15 minutes each hour and when you multiple this by the 18 hours the store is open from 5am-11pm, it makes up to be a substantial amount of time”. This is inevitably leading to a significant amount of loss in profits and sales, and in turn placing these owners in even further debt.
7-Eleven’s only contribution has been the insulting offer of “a one-off supply of Chux and disposable gloves to each store” and the threat of 'surprise' visits from Retail Business Managers (RBM).
If you are a 7-Eleven franchisee and would like to hear about the class action lawsuit or require assistance in your own dealings with 7-Eleven, please contact Class PR.