Jim Keyes, former President and CEO of 7-Eleven, spoke at the National Coalition of Franchisees. Jim Keyes’ return to the stage at this event demonstrates the respect the Franchisees have for Mr. Keyes who led a turnaround of 7-Eleven, saving the company from the brink of extinction in 1991. 7-Eleven is now the world’s biggest retail chain with nearly 70,000 locations around the world.
Jay Singh, Chairman of the National Coalition of Association 7-Eleven of Franchisees introduced Mr. Keyes by giving him credit for 40 quarters of improved same store sales and strong earnings under his tenure as CEO of 7-Eleven. Keyes served as President and CEO of 7-Eleven from 2000 to 2005, retiring after 21 years with the company when it was sold to Seven & I Holdings Co. As President and CEO, Keyes is credited with implementing new retail systems technology that improved product assortment decisions in every store.
Mr. Keyes who led the successful turnaround of 7-Eleven said, “If I could point to one most critical factor in the success of 7-Eleven or in the success of an individual Franchisee...it would be the importance of embracing change. We were obsessed with innovation...using the eyes and ears of thousands of Franchisees to find new products ...and deploying technologies that met the changing needs of convenience customers.”
Mr. Keyes credited founders, Joe C Thompson of 7-Eleven, as well Ray Kroc of McDonalds, and Fred DeLuca of Subway for pioneering franchise models that made the American Dream possible for so many. They all recognized the power and importance of the individual Franchisee as an entrepreneur and valued their contributions to innovation.
Mr. Keyes closed his remarks by sharing a story about a Franchisee, who is also a development agent for Subway. Keyes said, “He came from South Asia as a young man to work in his Uncle’s 7-Eleven store. He saved his money but took a different path, discovering that Subway provided a similar opportunity. The same family enjoyed success as entrepreneurs in two different companies with the same successful outcome...achieving the American Dream.
Jim Keyes closed with the affirmation that regardless of whether one is a franchisee at 7-Eleven or Subway... “You represent the entrepreneurial spirit that is the backbone of American business...and the embodiment of the American Dream”, Keyes closed.
The National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees (NCASEF) is an independent trade association for 7-Eleven franchisees nationwide. It is NCASEF’s goal to represent the interests of franchisees to all parties, and to provide a forum for the exchange of information among franchisees, management, and our vendor partners. Originally founded in 1973 by 6 franchisees, NCASEF today consists of 44 Franchise Owner’s Associations (FOAs), located in the 30 states where 7-Eleven does business.