7-ELEVEN Franchise Owners are Glorified Managers, Franchisee Tells NPR

The plight of 7-Eleven franchisees has reached National Public Radio (NPR).  An NPR news story on the problems in franchising feature Chicago 7-Eleven franchisee Hashim Syed.  

7-Eleven franchise owner Hashim Syed joined the bought the rights to operate his 7-11 convenience store Chicago’s North side in 1990 – nearly 25 years ago.

He says that 7-Eleven, Inc. gradually exerted more and more control over every aspect of franchisee’s operations to the point that they are now just “glorified managers,” rather than owners.

A NPR news report from radio station WBEZ in Chicago by Chip Mitchell and Shannon Heffernan (Bigger than burgers and fries, franchising blamed for low wages) features the not-uncommon plight of franchisee Hashim Syed:

In Syed’s nearly quarter century as a 7-Eleven franchisee, he has worked brutally long hours, his profits have fallen far short of his expectations, and the Dallas-based chain has imposed tighter rules on how he runs the store.

Something else that steams Syed is his role as an employer. He says all of those 7-Eleven rules limit his ability to cut costs and free up resources to treat his workers better. “When I lived in Bombay,” Syed said, “this is not what I thought they meant by the American Dream.”

Hashim Syed’s complaints against 7-Eleven are an all-too-familiar one at UnhappyFranchisee.Com, as we have posted numerous profiles of struggling franchisee (See 7-ELEVEN on UnhappyFranchisee.Com [UPDATED]).

In the news report, Syed laments that he could not afford to give an employees paid time off to care for his dying father, nor to pay his employees more.

He blames the 7-Eleven franchise restrictions for keeping him from making changes that would increase his profitability and pay for himself and his employees.

Last year, the 23rd in his store, Syed took home less than $54,000.

The news report on franchising states:

Syed says he bought his 7-Eleven franchise in 1990. “I was very excited,” he said. “I could buy everything from where I wanted to.”

After a while, however, Syed decided that being a franchisee was not all it was cracked up to be. It was not just the long hours. The company allowed another 7-Eleven to open just a few blocks away. Then it changed the terms of his franchise agreement.

Franchisees learned they had to buy 85 percent of supplies from approved vendors. “Now everything will be controlled by 7-Eleven Company,” Syed said. “They will decide what to buy, where to buy.”

Other franchisees complain that 7-Eleven goes as far as to remotely control the temperature in their stores, even the volume on their televisions.

Many of 7-Eleven’s rules do help protect the brand. And the company has reasons to make franchisees purchase supplies from an approved vendor. For one, 7-Eleven can use the collective buying power to keep costs down, a company official said.

Something 7-Eleven does not control are employment decisions, including the amount Syed pays his workers. Syed said one of his half-dozen employees, the manager, makes $10.50 an hour. He said the rest earn less — in a state where the minimum is $8.25.

Syed said he can hardly blame employees who are upset about the pay, but he insisted he is not getting rich either. Last year, his 23rd at the store, Syed took home $53,866, he said. That was one of his best years, he added.

To Syed, the whole franchise model feels like a setup. “We are as much of a victim in it as the workers are,” he said. “We are nothing more than a glorified manager.”

UnhappyFranchisee.Com was interviewed by NPR for the WBEZ story, and the story includes a link to this website.

Also read:

7-ELEVEN on UnhappyFranchisee.Com [Index of posts]

7-Eleven Franchise Complaints

7-ELEVEN Stole Our Store – Dev Patel’s Story

7-ELEVEN Franchise Owner Claims Franchisees Are Being Bullied

WHAT DO YOU THINK? ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE 7-ELEVEN FRANCHISE, 7-ELEVEN INC. AND 7-ELEVEN FRANCHISE COMPLAINTS?

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TAGS: 7-Eleven, 7-Eleven franchise, 7-Eleven lawsuit, 7-11 franchise, 7-11 franchise chicago, 7-Eleven litigation, Hashim Syed, 7-eleven franchise complaints, Seven and I Holdings, 7-Eleven NPR story, 7-Eleven WBEZ story, 7-11 NPR story, 7-11 WBEZ story

7 thoughts on “7-ELEVEN Franchise Owners are Glorified Managers, Franchisee Tells NPR

  • April 7, 2014 at 10:05 pm
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    Unfortunately my friend Syed tells the story of far too many franchisees. Plus this franchise is the only one that I know where the owner risks being killed in his store by a robber.

  • April 9, 2014 at 1:08 am
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    I think these stories make sense that i hear from few franchisee when i visit stores. Some franchisee told me that they are encouraged price gouging to meet their needs, thats why prices are not same at all stores. Basically depending on area they are told to take advantage of people. If they don’t care about their franchisee concerns i wonder how much they care about customers.

  • April 13, 2014 at 7:35 pm
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    I worked for 7-Eleven as a MM for a few years- and we used to say that owners like
    Syed only buy themselves a job (corporate people said this). Sadly, they work incredibly hard in many locations to eak out $50-60K per year. It depends on location, traffic, service, etc.

    As the company has grown, the corporate offices are so poor at communications to the field -franchisees and employees.
    Never seen a company where so many franchisees and employees alike hated their jobs.Really, the worst company I ever.

  • April 14, 2014 at 1:27 pm
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    Care to share more on this Kiki? Did the experts in Dallas even listen to people like you? What era of leadership did you work under? Keyes Clark Krumholz or Joey D.

  • April 19, 2014 at 9:52 am
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    How about this to show how happy we are.
    Let’s get a movement to show 7-11 how we can hurt the pocket $$$$.
    Let’s close for the only day we can CHRISTMAS.
    Just a few thousand stores would put a good dent on 7-11.

  • August 25, 2014 at 10:00 pm
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    7-11 the WORST WORST WORST WORST AND WORST DEVILISH ..MODERN DAY SLAVERY FRANCHISE EVER ………………………..IDIOTS ARE THOSE WHO ARE STILL BUYING INTO THIS SYSTEM

    NEW STINT THEY WANT COFFEE CAPTAINS FOR 2 HOURS IN THE MORNING IN EACH STORE AND SAYS THAT IT WILL TAKE ABOUT 2 MONTHS TO BREAK EVEN ON THAT EXPENSE BUT WILL SURELY HELP

    A***H**** THEIR FC”S AND MARKET MGR. DON’T HAVE TO PAY FOR THIS XTRA LABOR BUT FORCE THEIR FRANCHISEES TO MUST HAVE THESE PPL ON THE COFFEE BAR TRYING TO GET PERSONAL WITH CUSTOMERS WHEN THEY ARE BARELY WAKING UP AND HV MILLION THOUGHTS IN THEIR MIND AND PLANNING THEIR DAY AHEAD.

    THESE DEVILS AT 7-11 ARE FORCING THEIR FRANCHISEES TO HIRE EXTRA LABOR FOR 2 HOURS EVERY DAY THRU WINTER HOW DO FRANCHISEES MAKE MONEY

    DIE 7-11 BURN IN HELL N WITH YOU ALL YOUR STUPID TEAM… 1ST TO GO TO HELL THOSE JAPANEESE AND JOE DE PINTO THEN ALL THE MARKET MGR FC AND ASSET TEAM .

    I HOPE 7-11 CEASE TO EXISTS

  • September 21, 2014 at 11:02 pm
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    I was owner operator of 711 stores for 29 years i made good living although it was a lot of work .i followed the system and i knew that 711 needs his part of the share to pay their bills .i saw a l lot of franchises making hundreds of thousands by doing wrong things when i sold my store i only had the good will money in my account .which was ok but many franchises stole and have properties in their home land .
    with the competition 711 inc has to be strict to survive .i support them in this war i made good money to support my kids and me ,if a person will be honest follow the system they will be successful .its a shame that company has law suits .But i am thankful to 711 for letting me be their franchise .

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