- 7-Eleven Inc. installed a “coffee of the future” machine at a Dallas store in early October, according to an email from a company spokesperson.
- The machine, which was created in conjunction with appliance design company Appliance Innovation, “provides a fully automated coffee experience” while also making it easy for customers to customize their drinks, according to the email.
- The coffee of the future machine automatically adds milk and flavor syrups within the machine and cleans itself, freeing up store workers to focus on other in-store tasks.
7-Eleven has been updating its coffee program lately as part of parent company Seven & i’s aim to earn about a third of its revenue from fresh food, proprietary drinks and private label items by 2025.
Many stores have refreshed their coffee setup with new machines and more options. However, the automated coffee machine on display in the Dallas store rethinks the company’s approach to the beverage by prioritizing automation and efficiency.
7-Eleven has only installed this machine at the 1805 Sylvan Avenue store in Dallas so far and is currently gathering feedback from customers to help it further adjust and update the machine. This location is one of 7-Eleven’s “Evolution” stores, where the company tests out experiential innovations.
Customers can currently order a variety of coffees from the machine via a touchscreen. In addition to four fresh-brewed coffee blends — house, decaf, Colombian and Brazilian — it offers latte, cappuccino, mocha, espresso, chai latte and still and cold brew nitro drinks in sizes ranging from small to extra large. It can hold up to six gallons of milk types and six different flavored syrups to add to drinks, 7 Eleven said.
While the new machine does not currently offer seasonal coffee flavors like pumpkin spice, the company is looking to add those over the next year.
The machine has multiple pickup points to keep lines moving and the cups come with barcodes to make checkout easy. With add-ins contained within the machines, there are fewer chances for customers to accidentally spill creamer or miss the cup with flavor syrup, further reducing cleanup work.
“The project has been in the development process for well over a year and was built specifically with our stores in mind to deliver a new and innovative customer experience while also driving operational efficiencies for stores,” the 7-Eleven spokesperson said.
The machines also incorporate technology and interface design capabilities from foodservice equipment manufacturer Middleby.
7-Eleven’s coffee machine is just one example of convenience retailers using technology to automate certain simple, repetitive processes and free up workers to do more customer-facing work. Self-checkout machines are increasingly common in c-stores. Meanwhile, companies like Kum & Go and RaceTrac have installed automatic floor-cleaning robots in some or all of their stores.
Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven operates, franchises and/or licenses more than 13,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada. The retailer also operates c-store and QSR franchises like Speedway, Stripes, Laredo Taco Company and Raise the Roost Chicken and Biscuits.