The 7-Eleven in Malaysia is a strange breed. It does not carry as much ready-to-eat meals as the 7-Elevens in other markets. Why have a quick-meal fix at a convenience store when you have an even tastier and affordable food that is available 24/7, seven days a week. What I mean is the ubiquitous never-sleep mamak stores where a simple, yet delicious roti canai costs only RM 1.20. At 7-Eleven, the supposedly ‘fresh’ nasi lemak would have been prepared and displayed so many hours until it becomes unpalatable once you buy it in the evening.
7-Eleven has in many occasions worked really hard to improve its in-store ready-to-eat food. It even carried out an in-store consumer survey few years back on ways to improve its ready-to-eat offerings. Why would 7-Eleven want to focus on in-store food? The key reason is higher profit margin. It doesn’t cost much to buy such food from suppliers but when sold to consumers, the price can easily double or triple. In China, 7-Eleven’s foodservice delivers up to 60% in margin, according to Southern Metropolis Weekly.
The only way to win the foodservice battle is to change the product mix. Nasi lemak and mee goreng do not look fresh when sold through convenient store. Therefore, the key to success is hot food that looks fresh. Ready-to-eat meal is ideal because it is quick to prepare and is served hot. CP Malaysia is quick to grab hold of this opportunity and is bringing its ready-to-eat products to convenience stores and petrol stations nationwide. The plan is to have products in 1,700 convenience stores across the country in 2014.
CP’s Minute Meals On-The-Go compliments 7-Eleven existing ready-to-eat offerings such as sausages as well as coffee and instant noodles. The picture below is the newly renovated 7-Eleven outlet at Mont Kiara. On the left is a counter serving warm food and in the centre is CP’s chiller with a wide variety of ready-to-eat meals.
The price seems reasonable. It is RM 7.00 for Chicken Tom Yum with Rice, Spaghetti with Chicken Sauce, Spaghetti with Carbonara Sauce, Spaghetti with Mushroom Cream Sauce, RM 6.00 for Chicken Green Curry with Rice, Stir Fried Chicken and Chilli with Rice and Cooked Shrimp Wanton, RM 5.00 for American Fried Rice and Nasi Lemak with Chicken Rendang and RM 3.60 for Kampung Fried Rice and Fried Rice with Chicken Sausage.
The next issue is the seating arrangement. the 7-Eleven in Malaysia is changing its previous grab-and-go strategy with a new dine-in plan. In Indonesia, 7-Eleven has been very successful by positioning itself as a hang-out place for young consumers where Wi-Fi is free and there are plenty of seats for them to chat while eating ready-to-eat meals and drinking beverages bought in stores. In Malaysia, the latest 7-Eleven layout with seating area serves the same purpose and this will help spur the consumption of ready-to-eat meals.
Another thing that 7-Eleven can do is to sell pau or bun, a favourite food among all the races in Malaysia. 7-Elevens in China and the Philippines have done it so i think it is about time 7-Eleven starts selling pau here.