Support systems key for new stores in the times of COVID19

18 May 2020

Having a system and support in place to help get a business up and running is always important, but for a store opening during an unprecedented global pandemic, that support is even more critical.

7-Eleven Jerrabomberra opened on April 16, in the early stages of the COVID19 crisis. New franchisee Yasir Iftihkar said that it has been a challenging time to open a new business, but that the support he has received has been excellent.

“With COVID19 happening, the 7-Eleven team, in addition to the usual support for new franchisees, have installed Perspex screens at the counter, hand sanitizer units in-store for customers, and lots of social distancing signs so everyone can shop safely. I have about 10 new casual team members, mostly from the local Queanbeyan area, and my daughter also helps me in the store from time to time, so having those extra safeguards in place so quickly was very important for us to be able to serve our customers safely,” he said.

“The 7-Eleven team have been excellent, getting the store open on schedule and helping me get settled into the new store. That support has been ongoing from a range of areas from my retail business manager and regional manager, the retail specialists and even someone from training has come to help me review my training opportunities for my team,” Mr Iftihkar said.

While the store has started off well, Mr Iftihkar said it has been challenging.

“We are getting to meet the local community, but it is a bit slower to connect with people as they are spending more time at home. The team and I are excited to get to know everyone better as they start to get back into their routines in the weeks and months ahead.”

“My team are passionate to learn and be a part of the 7-Eleven team. They are sharing ideas on how to do things to delight customers already which is wonderful and we’ve had fantastic feedback from locals on the service we’re providing and the cleanliness of the store. My team know that making every experience exceptional for our customers, from the service to the temperature of the coffee, is incredibly important so we have all been focused on delivering that.”

“I have met a number of other local franchisees who have made me feel welcome and have helped me with ideas on how to make my store a success. I’m very pleased to be part of the 7-Eleven family, and to have my store open.”

Mr Iftihkar is a former sales representative for a number of the 7-Eleven’s suppliers. The desire to start his own family business motivated him go from one side of the convenience store counter to the other. When the opportunity came up to franchise the Jerrabomberra store, Mr Iftihkar was not only attracted to the business opportunity, but also to be serving the community that the family now call home.

“I used to work for some of 7-Eleven’s major suppliers as an account manager. I wanted to own my own business, and I was drawn to 7-Eleven as it is strong and reputable brand.”

“My wife, our three children and I moved here in 2014. My eldest daughter is completing her HSC, my son is starting secondary school and our youngest daughter is four. The kids will hopefully be starting back at soccer and in school sometime soon, and the whole family is looking forward to getting to spend time with our neighbours and community as soon as it’s possible.”