- 7-Eleven opened its first Laredo Taco Company drive-thru restaurant in Dallas on Tuesday, according to a press release. The restaurant, which offers indoor seating, shares space with a new 7-Eleven Evolution Store, the third of its kind in Dallas and the sixth in the U.S.
- The restaurant's menu includes items such as beef barbacoa, chorizo, carne asada, carnitas and breakfast tacos, and can also provide Slurpees, hot or iced coffee and espresso drinks. Alcoholic beverages, such as margaritas, beer and wine, are available for on-premise dining.
- The convenience store plans to expand its Evolution Store model, which includes a restaurant concept, across North Texas and Manassas, Virginia, this year. It opened four Evolution Stores in San Diego, California, Washington, D.C., Dallas and New York City in 2020.
7-Eleven, which acquired the Laredo Taco Company in 2018 along with Stripes convenience stores in South Texas from Sunoco, has been expanding the restaurant concept across its Evolution Store model, as well as within its traditional convenience stores across the country. This year, it plans to add the restaurant to over 10 of its traditional stores in the Oklahoma City metro region and has been adding it across its Florida locations as well. The convenience store could expand its restaurant footprint further with its 2020 acquisition of 3,900 Speedway stores.
7-Eleven's Evolution Stores act as a testing ground where customers can buy its newest store items. While each store is different, the retailer has tweaked its design and product mix based on customer feedback and shopping habits. The newest store in Dallas offers items like self-service specialty coffee and espresso drinks, on-tap novelty beverages, cookies and croissants baked in store, skincare and cosmetics and a variety of alcoholic beverages.
Similar to QSRs, 7-Eleven has expanded its delivery footprint. In October, the company said it had seven delivery partners, reaching 90% of its coverage area. While its new partnerships with Instacart, Uber Eats and Grubhub focus on snacks, groceries, household items and other essentials, it's ongoing relationship with DoorDash, Postmates and H-E-B-owned Favor, offer delivery for Laredo Taco Company.
Convenience stores like 7-Eleven have been inching into the QSR space in recent years, creating a growing area of competition. C-stores, which have also been expanding their grocery selections, are becoming one-stop shops —creating an advantage over QSRs. Wawa, which added a dinner menu last year, also opened its first drive-thru location in 2020 offering fresh food, value meals, combo meals and coffee and specialty beverages. Sheetz has been opening locations with drive-thrus for the better part of a decade.