From 7-11 to Carrefour: Israel welcomes int'l businesses - editorial

The products offered at 7-Elevens vary worldwide, but the main hope, of course, is that Slurpees will be making an appearance.

The under-construction storefront of Israel's first 7-Eleven store in Tel Aviv, December 2022 (photo credit: TZVI JOFFRE)
The under-construction storefront of Israel's first 7-Eleven store in Tel Aviv, December 2022
(photo credit: TZVI JOFFRE)

There’s been talk, there have been rumors, and now it’s confirmed: 7-Eleven is coming to Israel!

This January, the popular American chain of retail convenience stores will be landing at Dizengoff Center, the all-too-popular maze-like shopping center at the heart of Tel Aviv, most commonly populated by “emo” and “alt” teens alike.

Dozens of branches of the store will be opened across the country in the next three years, according to an agreement signed between 7-Eleven and Israel’s Electra Consumer Products. Ultimately, the goal is to open hundreds of stores throughout the country.

The products offered at 7-Elevens vary worldwide, but the main hope, of course, is that Slurpees will be making an appearance.

7-Eleven shopfront in Singapore (credit: CALVIN TEO/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)7-Eleven shopfront in Singapore (credit: CALVIN TEO/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

What this means for Israelis is that road trips to Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) or Eilat will start to look a lot like road trips in the US to Niagara Falls or the Golden Gate Bridge. The big question, naturally, is whether Free Slurpee Day will be celebrated on July 11 or November 7.

What other big international companies will expand into Israel?

Joking aside, it is very exciting to see some big companies and chains set their sights on Israel and recognize the country as a practical location within which they could expand and thrive. 7-Eleven is far from the first, nor is it the last.

The much-loved Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant chain opened up in Israel a few years ago. The store had several failed attempts in moving into Israel before that – supposedly because their attempt at a kosher recipe was not up to par – but the last (nonkosher) attempt seems to be sticking, with many customers crowding into Nazareth, as well as the two other branches in the North and in Beersheba.

Several other branches are reportedly in the works, so KFC may soon reach Tel Aviv and other central cities throughout the country, as well.

A similar process occurred with Hardee’s, a popular American fast-food restaurant chain, which eventually landed in Bethlehem.

Now, European olim can be excited to know that Carrefour is coming to Israel, big time. Yeinot Bitan, the family-owned Israeli supermarket chain, has invested NIS 40 million to convert 25 supermarkets into Carrefour supermarket stores by the end of the year. To be fair, it’s already the end of the year, and this has yet to be seen, but the project is, nevertheless, still under way and only expanding, with 40 to 50 branches expected to open or be converted to Carrefour in Israel in the near future.

Beyond the simple goal of getting olim excited and bringing some of their beloved stores and recognized brands to Israel, and thereby creating a nice opportunity for some nostalgia, we can’t ignore the significant benefits Israel will be seeing with these big brand names entering the country.

Israel needs healthy competition in the market

Israel’s market always needs some healthy competition. Bringing in other brand names is doing just that: helping different suppliers enter the Israeli market and therefore paving the way for price competition, as many products coming in will supposedly have cheaper prices – something Israelis will be sure to celebrate, given the recent price spikes throughout the country in all industries.

On that note, Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu presented an economic plan during his election campaign, during which he vowed to slow the increase in prices by lowering the prices of the four “growth instigators,” referring to electricity, gas, water and municipal taxes. He promised to freeze these for a year, even though Israel is now facing a sharp hike in electricity prices already in the coming weeks.

It remains to be seen if such actions will be taken to pull Israel out of the expected rut that the citizens are already feeling.

Setting that aside, though, there’s also something to be said for allowing brands to compete head-to-head and build themselves up through proper marketing efforts. Businesses can compete not just in the price of products, but also in their presentation, in their work conditions and so on, meaning that Israel may see some improvement throughout a wide variety of industries.

All in all, this is an exciting step for Slurpee lovers and Carrefour-brand cookie enthusiasts alike. Israel is an exciting economy that continues to attract international brands to open their businesses here and compete for the local customer.

We wish 7-Eleven the best of luck and look forward to our very own first Israeli Big Gulp.