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Excitement in Tel Aviv as Israel opens its first 7-Eleven convenience mini-market

More stores to follow, with the popular global franchise preparing to open 8 stores in Tel Aviv this year, 30 stores throughout Israel by 2024

Israelis at the opening of the country's first 7-Eleven (Photo: Screenshot)

Tel Aviv’s bustling Dizengoff street finally welcomed its first branch of the popular U.S. megachain 7-Eleven this week, after more than 18 months since ALL ISRAEL NEWS first reported on its pending arrival.

A long line of eager patrons were lined up outside outside mini-market on Tel Aviv’s popular Dizengoff street on Wednesday.

The 7-Eleven company plans to open 8 stores throughout Tel Aviv in 2023, and by 2024 to have opened a total of 30 across the Jewish state, according to several media reports.

The 7-Eleven stores will offer a variety of foreign brand items, in addition to typical Israeli snacks, pre-prepared takeaway meals and basic home supplies. On opening day, Israel customers were able to order 7-Eleven’s signature Slurpee ice drink.

For curious readers, the prices in Israel are as follows: A small Slurpee will cost 10  shekels ($3.00), large Slurpees are 15 shekels ($4.40) a pop, a coffee will go for 9 shekels ($2.60), a hotdog on a bun will cost 14.90 shekels ($4.30), and customers will be charged 7 shekels ($2.00) to enjoy a serving soft-serve ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Israel’s 7-Eleven customers can serve themselves and pay for their items, either at a self-service kiosk or at the counter. In addition, the megachain has promised to launch a mobile app so customers can conveniently scan and pay.

The CEO of 7-Eleven in Israel, Avinoam Ben-Mocha, touted the benefits of 7-Eleven’s model to local media outlets: “The self-service desk saves the customer time. It allows the customer to prepare themselves coffee, a hot dog, or ice cream just as they like, and all within a short period of time,” adding that the chain “will be a significant player in convenience stores and kiosks. It’s a solution like a mini market, pizzeria, cafe and fast food restaurant under one roof.”

The new Tel Aviv store will operate on Saturday, the official day of rest in the Jewish state, and therefore was not able to obtain a certified kosher license. Whether new locations will be open on Shabbat is yet to be determined. Ben-Mocha said that the 7-Eleven company “will take into account everything that is around us, and every case individually.”

“We aim to open as much as possible without harming customers’ feelings,” the CEO said, making a reference to the Jewish ultra-Orthodox community. “There will inevitably be kosher branches in places where appropriate,” Ben-Mocha added.

The issue of keeping kosher and observing the Sabbath is not trivial in the Jewish nation. There  are unique complexities to operating a business which sells food items (due to the Jewish Orthodox dietary laws and prohibitions), as well as keeping the Shabbat (Friday sundown until Saturday sundown, when no form of work is to be performed, no electricity used and more).

The majority of members in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recently-installed government are religious Jews, some of whom have already presented legislation calling for a stricter observance of Shabbat.

Israel’s local version of the megachain was established by a partnership between 7-Eleven’s global operations and Israel’s Electra Consumer Products.

Electra CEO Zvika Shwimmer said the 7-Eleven franchise will bolster competition in the sector and become a significant player in Jewish state.

“The consumer who chooses 7-Eleven will have an international consumer experience and will receive a value that he will immediately feel in his pocket,” he said.

7-Eleven now operates 77,000 stores in 19 countries. Israel is the second nation in the Middle East to welcome the megachain after the United Arab Emirates.

“7-Eleven’s entry into Israel brings Israeli customers a one-stop-shop solution, with fresh, high-quality food and a response to convenience store needs, all in a new retail format in the Israeli market. We are excited to provide citizens and tourists with a world-class shopping experience,” added 7-Eleven’s worldwide CEO Ken Wakabayashi. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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