IRVING, TEXAS — The newest 7-Eleven location is experimenting with a store format that prepares food on site. Launched in Dallas on March 22, the company’s first lab store offers street tacos with made-from-scratch tortillas, fresh bakery products and made-to-order beverages in addition to its usual packaged fare.
Hoping to gain new insights into consumer behaviors and preferences, the lab store gives the retailer a place to test, learn, iterate new products and influence future store designs.
“Convenience retailing is light years away from the days of bread and milk being sold from ice docks in 1927, and the industry is changing at a faster rate than ever before,” said Chris Tanco, executive vice-president and chief operating officer at 7-Eleven. “This lab store is customer-focused and will explore new ideas that weren’t even on the retail radar a few months ago.”
As part of the new concept, the quick-serve restaurant Laredo Taco Co. will reside within the store. 7-Eleven acquired the eatery along with Stripes convenience stores as part of a 1,000-store acquisition from Sunoco in 2018. Laredo Taco Co. will serve a variety of tacos and quesadillas on freshly prepared tortillas in addition to plated meals and salsas.
Other offerings at the testing site include a variety of bakery products, such as cookies and croissants, baked daily in-store, a frozen yogurt and ice cream bar as well as an array of made-to-order coffee drinks, cold-pressed juices, smoothies and on-tap kombucha.
According to the web site Eater, 7-Eleven plans to open five more lab stores across the country, with each offering products that align with local consumer preferences.