June 25, 2010 // Franchising.com // The uniformed officer approaches a group of kids, hands them "tickets" and says "You have the right to... a free Slurpee® drink." It's all part of Operation Chill®, 7-Eleven® stores' popular community program that rewards "good behavior" with a cool treat and helps build positive relationships between local law enforcement agencies and young people.
Police officers can be intimidating to many children and teens. But by distributing free Slurpee beverage coupons to good kids doing good things, local police departments across the U.S. can take the chill off their encounters with youngsters.
Through Operation Chill, law enforcement officers from participating local police and sheriff's departments can "ticket" youngsters caught in random acts of kindness, good deeds or involved in positive community activities with the free beverage coupons. Appropriate "offenses" might include helping another person, wearing a bicycle helmet while riding or skating, deterring crime or participating in a police athletic league. Each coupon can be redeemed for a small-size Slurpee drink at participating 7-Eleven stores.
Since the program's inception in 1995, more than 10 million Operation Chill coupons have been distributed to hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the country in areas where 7-Eleven operates stores. During the upcoming summer months and back-to-school season, 1 million Slurpee coupons will be given to kids in more than 300 cities, towns and counties.
Operation Chill was developed by 7-Eleven, Inc. to reward and encourage good behavior by youngsters during the hot summer months when communities may experience increases in loitering, shoplifting and graffiti. The coupons also can be used to support law enforcement agencies' community relations projects.
"Operation Chill continues to be one of our most popular community projects," said Mike Suppe, 7-Eleven's loss prevention manager for southern California. "Kids love it because they love Slurpee drinks. Police officers love it because it gives them a positive reason for them to approach youngsters and thank them for being good citizens.
"Rewarding a million kids with free Slurpees for doing something right is the right thing to do for a lot of different reasons," Suppe said. "Operation Chill helps build strong relationships in the community and recognizes young people's good deeds."
According to Suppe, police departments start contacting 7-Eleven earlier each year to sign up for the annual program. Cities already participating in this year's program include Los Angeles, San Diego, New York, Boston, Orlando, Tampa, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas and Richmond, Va.
Sgt. Amos Melo, who supervises the New Bedford, Mass., police department's school resource officers, said, "This is an excellent way to provide an incentive and reinforce positive behavior. Our department has 300 officers who interact with kids on their police beats, and we received an overwhelming response when we offered to provide them with Operation Chill coupons."
7-Eleven's proprietary Slurpee semi-frozen carbonated beverage has generational appeal with slurpers both young and old. More than a half-million Slurpee drinks are purchased each day during the summer at 7-Eleven stores across the country.
7 Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Based in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses close to 8,200 7-Eleven® stores in North America. Globally, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 38,000 stores in 16 countries. During 2009, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales of more than $58.9 billion. 7-Eleven has been honored by a number of companies and organizations recently. Accolades include: #3 spot on Entrepreneur magazine's Franchise 500 list for 2009, #3 in Forbes magazine's Top 20 Franchises to Start, #3 among Top 100 Global Franchises by Franchise Direct, #3 in Store Growth by Convenience Store News, #2 in Franchise Times Top 200 Franchise Companies and #29 among Top 100 Chains in Food Service. In addition, Hispanic Magazine named 7-Eleven in its Hispanic Corporate Top 100 Companies that provide the most opportunities to Hispanics. 7-Eleven recently was selected by three diversity publications as a company offering the best career and franchisee opportunities. 7-Eleven is franchising its stores in the U.S., and is expanding through organic growth, acquisitions and its Business Conversion Program. In addition, the company received the 2009 Shopper-Centric Marketing Innovation from Symphony IRI and the 2010 Retailer of the Year award from PL Buyer because of the company's private-label brand program.