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Will Tel Aviv 'Thank Heaven' for Israel's First 7-Eleven?

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JERUSALEM, Israel – Are Israelis ready for the Slurpee? The answer to that question should come soon, since the first 7-Eleven franchise opened Wednesday on Tel Aviv's busy Dizengoff Street. To launch the store's entry into Israel, it will remain open for 48 hours, which is likely to net a profit since the city's residents are known for keeping late hours.

The store was jammed with lines of curious customers checking out the array of staples such as hot dogs, Slurpees, and 7-Eleven coffee – which could pose a challenge in a country where the locally crafted coffees are king. The franchise will depend on the word most associated with the stores in the U.S.: convenience.

Avinoam Ben-Moha, CEO of 7-Eleven Israel, confirmed that in The Jerusalem Post. "7-Eleven brings real convenience to the consumer in an innovative format that does not exist in Israel," he said, and added, "The mix of food and products in the network was built with the aim of providing 360-degree solutions for a wide range of needs – where the principle that guides us is the freshness and quality at the highest level and at the most attractive price."

Except for the logo, Americans in Israel might not recognize the new version of the store, with Middle Eastern cuisine added to the chain's array of staple items. Customers can select anything from salads to kubbeh (an Iraqi soup made with vegetables and meat in a kind of dumpling) to fatayer (a Druze pastry), in addition to pizza, chicken nuggets and many of the standard items familiar to U.S. patrons.

Self-service is a key ingredient to the hopes for the franchise's success. An app will soon be available so customers can scan and pay without waiting in line, and for nearly everything, do-it-yourself is the preferred mode. "It allows the customer to prepare the coffee, hot dog or ice cream just the way they like and all in a very short time," Ben-Moha said. "A 7-Eleven customer knows exactly how long it will take them to enter the store and leave with the products they desire."

Israel is not exactly short on convenience stores. 10,000 such businesses are scattered throughout the country, from many city street corners to gas stations on remote highways to small towns, so 7-Eleven's prospect for success isn't a slam dunk.

Still, their presence here represents a potentially significant change for portions of the industries related to groceries, restaurants and tourism.

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About The Author


John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN New since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.