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Posts Tagged ‘7-Eleven Pizza’

7-Eleven Frozen Pizza Review – Nationwide

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7-Eleven Frozen Pizza Review

7-Eleven Frozen Pizza Review

A few years back, 7-Eleven made some rather dramatic decisions – to go into the hot, ready to eat food business and to replace many of the standard shelf offerings with house brand merchandise ( 7-Select).

Both moves appear to have been very successful.

With a history that dates back to the 1920s, and originally named the “Tote ‘m Stores,” the company which had started as an ice retailer, added items and stores until changing their name to 7-Eleven in 1946. Continued growth through the next few decades showed success but also added huge amounts of debt to the company, and in 1990, entered a pre-packaged bankruptcy during which 70% of the company was spun off to Japanese retail giant Ito-Yokado.

Today there are 64,000 stores in 18 countries.  Think there are a lot of them in your town?  Tokyo has 2,600!

The addition of the hot food came around 10 years ago (not including roller grill foods, which debuted earlier),  and it was a store-elective, as in order

7-Eleven Frozen Pizza Review

Grab and go food counter

to be competitive, outlets were required to purchase Turbo Chef ovens (retail between $7-$10,000) which can cook a frozen pizza in 90 seconds. Pizza was followed by baked snack offerings like wings and tenders.

Pizzas are sold by the slice or whole and with promotional prices as low as $5 for an entire pie.

The pies are also available in the frozen foods cooler, competing with national brands. There are (that I have seen) three varieties, Supreme, Pepperoni, and Cheese.  These retail for between $5-6.

They are a “medium” thick crust pizza and are reminiscent of brands like Tony’s, and Red Baron, which shouldn’t be surprising, as the frozen pizzas are manufactured for 7-Eleven at a Schwan’s plant.  The plant (pictured below) is in Sydney, OH, about 60 miles NW of Columbus.

It’s a mass appeal product, nothing too extreme in flavors,  but if you’re paying around  $5, it’s a good value.

I’ve only had them a couple of times, in both incidences, I distinctly remember occurring because I was too lazy to go into a big grocery.  I guess that is one thing 7-Eleven is counting on.

Aoubt 15 minutes at 425 and they are ready to go.  Other house brand products I’ve tried in the past, include the meat snacks (their version of a Slim Jim), heat and eat burgers, and fresh sandwiches (which at least in the Pacific NW are made by Lufthansa’s catering division in Seattle).

If you’re outside of the U.S. in one of those 18 countries that 7-Eleven has stores, take a peek in one, they have some fun stuff. Particularly in Asia!  The Japanese parent has some marvelous department stores across Asia as well, operating under the names of Seibu and Sogo. (The Sogo in Hong Kong has an amazing food court/grocery on the lower level).

7-Eleven Frozen Pizza Review

Packaging

7-Eleven Frozen Pizza Review

Out of box

7-Eleven Frozen Pizza Review

After baking (and re-arranging toppings!)

7-Eleven Frozen Pizza Review

Sydney, Ohio Factory

 

7-Eleven Frozen Pizza Review

7-Eleven Frozen Pizza Review

 

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7-Eleven Pizza, the Home Version

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I have previously written about 7-Eleven adding more hot food items, round-the-clock, including pizza, both whole and sliced. A whole pepperoni retails for 9.99.

The program of adding ready-cooked foods reflects changing consumer habits – for one thing, 7-Eleven has to make up for the rapidly decreasing income from tobacco sales. Plus they have moved towards more in-house branding (“Select”), undoubtedly to boost margins. Very shrewd.

My previous review of take-out slices is here.

Today, I walked into my neighborhood 7-Eleven (which doesn’t offer the cooked pizzas or slices) and I noticed a stack of frozen 7-Eleven “Self Rising Crust Pizzas” in the freezer section.

The pepperoni one weighs in at 27 oz, which is good weight for a frozen pizza. Price point is $5.99. Which means they are going to charge you an additional $4 per pie, if you are buying a whole cooked one at some other outlet. This seems fair, as usually retail prices are double wholesale, so they are paying roughly $3 a pie, and prepared food costs are generally 3x wholesale, so that multiple is correct too.

I say it’s fair, because if your 7-Eleven is selling the baked pies, that means they shelled out $5,000+ for the Turbo Chef oven.

There are two descriptors on the front of the box. “Made with real cheese”, and “topped with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, parmesan and romano cheeses, and a blend of spices.

An examination of the ingredients proves this out; the cheese are indeed real, as is the pepperoni (beef & pork; garlic and dried oregano are the final two ingredients on the panel.

There’s no indication of who is making these for 7-Eleven, and I could not find a reference to that online; however there is no shortage of contract frozen pizza manufacturers in the U.S., could be someone like Schwans, in Minnesota, or Palermo’s in Milwaukee. I suppose even Kraft cranks out a few. No matter.

Instructions call for direct on center rack, 425, 20-25 minutes, and when I do these tests, I follow the instructions explicitly, and don’t add any additional toppings; I don’t ‘relocate’ any of the toppings. I want to see what the product is exactly the way they intended it.

I don’t much give a damn for rising crusts, as you well know if you read me occasionally. Set the timer for 20 minutes, and out it came, just on the cusp of being overcooked. No, my oven doesn’t run hot. Anyway, I much prefer an overcooked pizza to an undercooked, limp one.

Taste, aesthetic, and texture-wise, this pizza is just fine for what it is, and a terrific value calculating weight versus price. The outer crust is crispy and chewy, the inner crust doughy and chewy, which I am sure is what they intended. Sauce is flavorful without being annoying, and you can always tell the difference when real cheese is used. The pepperoni is good, didn’t cup or char, there could be more, but 7-Eleven does include more slices than most frozen pizzas.

Will I buy it again? Sure, it’s a couple hundred feet from my house, and I don’t have to order ahead of time. They also offer a cheese and supreme variety; I’d like to see an Italian sausage, with big pieces of bulk sausage amply sprinkled across the top.

As I wrote when I sampled the take-out slices before, I’ve had this pizza previously, and it didn’t have the 7-Eleven label on it.   Can’t quite place it, but it will come to me eventually.  The ultimate test for me, as it is for all pizza, is how good this the next morning, after sitting on the counter all night.

But in the meantime, to quote a cliche. “Oh thank heaven, for 7-Eleven.”


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7-Eleven Pizza Test

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I wrote about the advent of 7-Eleven pizzas a few weeks ago. I thought it seemed like a good place to get my fix, especially since it would be 1) cheap, 2) available 24 hpurs, 3) available everywhere.

At least two of those ideas turned out to be true; it’s not available at my neighborhood 7-Eleven, but then, it has just been sold, so maybe the transition is slowing things up.
I did have the opportunity to sample the product however, quite by accident, discovering an outlet that is already offering it on my way out of town the other day.

The outlet is out on NE Sandy, and I was just stopping for a morning coffee, but they had the pies out already with the counter topper screaming at me “Two Slices for $3!” “Free Big Gulp with two slices!”

I succumbed to the pitch. Well, half-way. I picked up one slice of pepperoni. It wasn’t so good, wasn’t so bad, very reminiscent of the frozen product “Tony’s”, tho this one cooked in a professional convection oven, not my 50 degree off Fridgidaire.

Ample pepperoni toppings, and yes, for 9.99 for a whole pie, at 3AM, within walking distance of my house (when that outlet puts in the oven), once and awhile, I’ll go for it. I did not try the wings or “wingettes”: the signage was in place, but not the product.

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The Genius of 7-Eleven

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My better 2/3rds often says my car has a special device that doesn’t let it drive past a 7-Eleven. That may be so. I love 7-Eleven. It used to be pretty scummy, but under the current Japanese ownership, it grows more impressive by the day.

Lately, I have been enthused about their creation of so many branded products. What genius! They get quality control, increased profits, more exposure to their brand, and price points that are often below the nationally-branded products that they carry. In some locales, they even stock proprietary beer.

I was thinking about them this morning because Burger reporter Kayoumin’s (if the idea of French love songs in Mandarin intrigues you, check out Kayoumin’s music!) blast from Taipei also included a shot of 7-Eleven Hot Dogs (below). Taiwan is about 1/4 the size of Iowa, in square miles. yet they have 4,000 7-Eleven stores! FOUR THOUSAND! That’s a lot of Big Gulps!

I’m not sure how many 7-Elevens there are in Iowa, but New Orleans has zip. May be the real reason I had to leave.

I did a post the other day on some 7-Eleven’s adding 24 hour hot food, like pizza, and wings. “Ready-to-eat” is one of the fastest growing grocery categories, so this makes sense, especially when you have competing fast foods in the same neighborhood adding all sorts of adjunct offerings, like Subway having breakfast, and the “Hut” (nee Pizza Hut) adding wings and pasta.

At a 9.99 flat price for pizza, 7-Eleven’s wouldn’t have to be all that grand in order to make a dent in local pizzerias, and one only need look at gas station pizza “franchises” like Hunt Brothers (6,000 outlets currently) to see what the market potential is. How many 7-Elevens worldwide you ask? Over 30,000; 5,000 in the US alone, of which about 80% are franchised operations.

Japanese business excels at taking US “inventions” and marketing them well (like the video tape recorder). It’s always fascinating to watch what they do with their acquisitions. It’s going to be fun to see 7-Eleven continue to evolve.

Map of 7-Eleven in Taiwan


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