The Beddoe family owns and operates the 7-Eleven store in Northcote, Victoria. Stephen shares their story in this Q&A.
What attracted you to becoming a 7-Eleven franchisee?
Before we partnered with 7-Eleven we did our due diligence, we evaluated a number of franchise business opportunities in the retail sector, including other fuel and convenience brands. It became evident very quickly that 7-Eleven was the best opportunity where you work for yourself, but not by yourself.
How long have you been a franchisee?
It’s been almost three years since we bought the 7-Eleven fuel convenience franchise here in Northcote, Victoria. We signed the contract at the start of the pandemic and many people advised us to wait, but we were in it for the long term and with support from 7-Eleven we weathered the pandemic storm and have emerged more resilient than ever. This truly is a recession-proof, and as it turned out, pandemic-proof franchise business model.
What did you all do professionally before you became franchisees?
Our business is truly a family business. The three directors are myself, my wife Christine, and our son Raoul. All three of us were working in corporate jobs before we decided to run our own business. Christine and Raoul were in the financial services sector, and I was the global head for an iconic Australian touring and camping gear brand.
Was it a big decision to make the change?
Yes, it was, and the decision to give it all up and buy into a franchise business opportunity wasn’t made impulsively. I can’t stress enough the need to conduct a careful and detailed evaluation of all the risks and opportunities before taking on the responsibility of owning a business.
Was it always your plan to run a family business?
Always? No. The plan evolved and grew over time, primarily because of Raoul’s entrepreneurial nature, and Christine and I chose to support his dream. Now that we’re all in it, nothing beats working together as a family.
How many people do you employ?
At the moment we have six casual employees, some of whom have been with us since the very beginning. Over the years we’ve had the privilege of employing some specially enabled individuals; those with superpowers like ADD, dyslexia and higher-skilled autism who have used their 7-Eleven work experience to increase their social skills and springboard their careers into fields that they excel in.
How many hours on average would each of you work?
During the pandemic, as a family, we were working up to 16 hours a day. Now that things are back to normal, we have achieved a better work-life balance of approximately nine hours a day, six days a week, but we’re always at the store during the busiest trading hours.
What did you think of the training provided to you as an incoming franchisee?
It was very well structured with a good balance of theory and in-store practice, our trainer was excellent.
What would you say about the support 7-Eleven has provided you since you became a franchisee?
As a business partner 7-Eleven have stood by us and continue to support us, along with all the other franchisees through one of the worst economic crises in a hundred years. They are the kind of partners you want in your corner when things get tough. They take care of everything, and I mean everything, which allows us to just focus on doing what we do best which is providing a quality customer experience for everyone who steps through our door.
How do you plan on making your business even better than it is now?
It really is a simple business, but you must do the simple things well, and consistently. The fundamentals are to keep the store clean, well-stocked, and to provide great customer service. When we take care of our customers, they take care of our business.