7-Eleven, KFC enter delivery

For almost all of retail – whether you’re talking about consumer goods or ordering pizza – delivery is the river from which all life flows. Because of that, retail stores are closing outlets, convenience stores can’t get customers to come into the store and fast food restaurants are almost solely focused on the drive-thru.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder 7-Eleven and KFC are entering the area of delivery – and I predict doom for one of them and success for the other.

7-Eleven
7-Eleven wants you to enter the store by picking up packages?

The doom is for 7-Eleven, which will add lockers to 200 outlets in North America so shoppers can pick up their packages from UPS or FedEx. This is an obvious attempt to get those that simply gas up to come into the store and buy a Slurpee or some such thing.

7-Eleven has been under siege with greater competition, not just by the many local convenience stores you find in every town and city – but also by rising giant Sheetz, one of the few brands in the category with a unique brand and look. 7-Eleven has been a follower, also offering food like Sheetz and now believes that this shipping option will make it a leader.

Here’s the basic problem. Let’s say you do order something online. Why would you need to have it shipped to 7-Eleven when it can be delivered right to your door? Seriously. Why?

That’s not mentioning that Amazon, which its Amazon Prime membership, just about dominates the online category and can get you what you ordered next day without any additional cost. Why have it shipped to 7-Eleven?

7-Eleven and KFC are desperate.

The move feels desperate; as does KFC’s announcement that it will start delivering in a few select markets next month. There’s a difference here, though. The food will be delivered…what for it…to your door.

I’ve always wondered why other fast food chains haven’t done this before. The pizza brands figured out a long time ago that people would rather eat fast food at home (or in their cars) rather than go into the restaurant itself. It’s the reason why many chains make most of their money in the drive thru. There’s always a little bit of guilt in eating at a fast food restaurant that going through the drive-thru alleviates. Delivery is the natural progression.

Most fast food restaurants fear they will be left with expensive billboards – the restaurants themselves. But it’s already moving in that direction.

There’s no good reason why McDonalds, Wendy’s or Burger King can’t deliver. In a category that seeing sales drop across the board, delivery is a natural option – and it allows those brands to take on the pizza brands of Pizza Hut, Domino’s and Papa John’s.

While KFC has its own problems, this is a smart, leadership move. Ordering packages to be delivered to 7-Eleven is just plain stupid.