JUNE 12, 2006 (STAR) What factors give a retail business the edge? Good products? Quality service? Clear business acumen? Innovative strategies?

Philippine Seven Corp., the country licensee of the world-renowned retail convenience store chain 7-Eleven, has all these and the key to success — solid partnerships.

"One of the main precepts for the success of any business has always been establishing strong partnerships," said Lee Gonzalo Perez, Franchise Marketing Manager of 7-Eleven. "Such partnerships are built on trust and involve dynamic participation among all parties in order to boost the rate of success."

7-Eleven, which is already one of the most recognized brand worldwide and a proven player in the convenience retailing industry, is now establishing a new reputation – that of a giant in the franchising industry.

"What most people don’t know is that we’ve been offering 7-Eleven as a franchise since 1998," Perez said. "But those who know are already reaping the rewards of taking out a franchise with us."

Philippine Seven Corp. has capitalized on its strong operational performance in the retail industry, transforming this into a unique franchise formula that is helping its partners profit from the partnership.

"Unlike other franchise systems, 7-Eleven is a joint venture, meaning that both Philippine Seven Corp. and the franchisee share expenses and the profits," Perez said. "We share in the cost of operations, but the franchisee gets the lion’s share of the gross profits."

"We established this kind of partnership from the start – ensuring that our franchisees have our full support in terms of training, marketing and auditing, among others," Perez added.

Perez explained that the 7-Eleven partnership also translates into the strength of the 7-Eleven infrastructure, composed of computer on-line ordering, cash control, inventory control, manpower planning, and reporting and information systems, which is designed to streamline store operations for the franchisees.

New franchisees also get to experience ‘shadowing’, a 7-Eleven coined term denoting the fielding of veteran store managers to assist and familiarize new storeowners during the first months of operations. Operational field consultants also conduct regular weekly visits for counseling, monitoring and evaluation of store performance.

With these strategies, Philippine Seven Corp. has managed to expand its horizons, starting with their first branch in EDSA cor. Kamias, QC, to nearly 300 outlets in Metro Manila and key provinces in the country. Of these stores, 40 percent franchised, and the rest are company operated.

Franchise conversion is another innovation introduced by Philippine Seven Corp. in the industry. Normally, franchise providers prefer to hold on to top performing stores. But 7-Eleven does the opposite, allowing interested parties to invest in and operate an established store.

"Allowing franchisees a chance to own and operate a store that we have nurtured for several years is the most sincere sign of trust on the part of the company. We give them a chance to reap the benefits of a store that already has a stable market. In exchange, we get stronger partners that help us grow the business," Perez said.

Under the franchise conversion system, franchisees who want to skip the process of creating a niche in the market and enjoy the benefits of an established store need only invest a bit more.

"Aside from the franchise conversions, we are still opening up new markets in untapped areas of the country. This is done via our company-owned stores or through new store franchise. But with franchise conversions, we present a win-win situation for all our potential investors," Perez said.

Areas available for franchise conversions are stores in Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Manila, Quezon City, and major cities in Rizal.

But with these innovations, Philippine Seven Corp. has also set into motion stricter control measures to ensure that potential investors are of top caliber and that standards of 7-Eleven are maintained.

Interested investors go through a seven-step qualification process, which begins with the initial contact, followed by pre-qualification by the franchise manager, the preparation and submission of the business plan, the interview by the approval committee. Once the franchise contract has been signed, the franchisee undergoes a two-month immersive training program that ends with turnover of the store.

Thus, through this 7-eleven style of franchise partnership, true franchising success for Philippine Seven Corp. and its present and future business partners achieved.

For inquiries, call 726-9968, 0920-9508651 or visit

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved