Franchisees in training, part 2: As C.O.O.L. as it gets - Monday, July 27, 2015

Congratulations! After a three-day orientation in Dallas, you’ve been successfully LAUNCHED. Now it’s time to go home, hug your family and do a load of laundry because the real training is about to begin. We call it C.O.O.L. (College of Operations Leadership) training, and once you’re finished, you’re going to know exactly what it takes to run your own 7-Eleven store – like a boss.

Arron Yount is 7-Eleven’s senior field training manager responsible for the managers and Franchisees attending C.O.O.L. training. Every year approximately 1,300 participants attend the six- to eight-week program held at one of 46 7-Eleven locations across the country. Yount definitely has his work cut out for him, but considering the caliber of Franchisees that emerge from the program, it’s worth it.

C.O.O.L. is a skills-based training program designed to teach everything you need to know about running your own 7-Eleven franchise. You’ll be learning in the classroom and with self-paced workbooks, plus a few e-learning modules. There’s also lots of valuable hands-on experience that takes place in a 7-Eleven store where trainers and actual store staff members contribute to the learning journey.

“Everybody starts by learning to be a sales associate – and then we build on that,” explains Yount. Everything from customer service basics and forecasting sales to stocking, pricing and food prep is taught as a foundation for the rest of the training.

The next phase is all about managing the business and a team, which includes how to manage cash and inventory, understanding back office operations, and of course, hiring, developing and leading a staff. The final phase gives you the opportunity to be “Manager of the Day.” This is the perfect opportunity to put everything you’ve learned into action.

C.O.O.L. trainers are also good at adapting the program to the different learning styles and backgrounds of participants. “We’ve got physicians, retailers, college grads – so many different people coming through the program – so we’re very intentional about adapting the training to fit the diversity of our Franchisees.”

The entire program is continuously evolving and improving as a result of changing business practices. Improvements are also made based on Franchisee feedback. “Our training participants are surveyed throughout the program, so we’re always listening for what works and what doesn’t,” says Yount. “We keep the parts that are working and weave them into a better program.”

What surprises new trainees the most? According to Yount, it’s the wealth of resources provided to Franchisees. Throughout training you’ll have access to your own Business Consultant who can answer your questions, give advice and basically walk you through the program. You’ll also have access to 7hub, 7-Eleven’s internal website that includes store resources, job aids, tools, news and all kinds of helpful tips.

Yount has a few good suggestions for anyone preparing to attend C.O.O.L. training. “Get rid of all distractions and be fully immersed in the program,” he says. “You won’t get an opportunity like this again, so take full advantage of your time with the pros.” Yount also thinks it’s important to be open-minded when starting out. “Leave your preconceived ideas about retailing behind. 7-Eleven is unique!”

“And one more thing,” he adds. “Have fun! It’s all about setting you up for success as a 7-Eleven franchise owner.”

To learn more about our training, our business model and what it’s like to own a 7-Eleven franchise, click here to listen to one of our franchise webinars. They’re free and available throughout the week.