When I imagine 7-Eleven, my thoughts do not immediately go to chef-inspired, locally sourced meals but maybe one day they will. For now, a bouquet of stale energy bars, a Technicolor assortment of Gatorade bottles standing idly behind fogged-up freezer doors, and half-filled carousels spinning with hot dogs more accurately flutter around in my mind.
Although, like I said, those platitudes of convenience-store legend may soon disappear.
Last week, 7-Eleven issued an announcement that it would begin testing ready-made, locally prepared meals crafted by chefs. The meals—fifteen varieties in total—will be available in all Dallas/Fort Worth locations, select stores in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. They’ll be made in nearby kitchens, brought each day to the closest 7-Eleven and priced from $3.99 to $4.99.
“With these chef-inspired entrees, 7-Eleven can provide busy individuals and families with a delicious, premium-quality, whole-meal solution in one stop,” said Kelley Buckley, 7-Eleven vice president of fresh food innovation.
The surprising move was inspired, at least in part, by an NPD Group study that found almost two-thirds of consumers buy premade meals at least once per week. These same consumers also plan dinner within an hour of eating. Put those two factoids together and you start to see why 7-Eleven’s new local initiative seeks to fill a well-researched void between the premeditated and spontaneous.
Whether, as the brand claims, these chef-inspired dishes really do feature flavor profiles and ingredients on par with restaurant-quality preparations is yet to be seen but if you happen to stop by a 7-Eleven in the next day or two, let us all know what’s what in the comments below, please and thanks.