Convenience store giant7-ElevenInc., Dallas, made good on published reports about plans to expand its hot foods foodservice program -- beginning with approximately 115 stores in Texas' Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.

Officials said the new hot foods menu includes a variety of foods cooked in the store -- in a "specially designed high-speed oven." 7-Eleven, Dallas, said it started expanding its foodservice menu in late 2008 and that participating stores "are seeing fresh food sales as much as double after hot foods are added, a testament to consumer acceptance and the quality of the product."

The core menu includes Four Cheese and Pepperoni Pizza (sold whole or by the slice), all-white-meat Chicken Tenders, three varieties of Chicken Wings (spicy, breaded Wing Zings, Asian-style Dragon Wings and Barbecue), Breakfast Sausage, Egg and Cheese Quesadillas and Hash-Brown potatoes.

Additional items vary by region. Prices range from 79 cents for two hash browns to $2.99 for three chicken wings and $9.99 for a large pizza. Tailgate party packs that include pizza and wings were introduced in October.

“Customers want food that is fast, fresh, high quality and portable,” said Mike Hansen, 7-Eleven fresh foods manager responsible for the hot foods launch in the company’s Central Division, which includes Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. “7-Eleven can deliver food hot and fresh, 24 hours a day.”

Officials noted that before a 7-Eleven store can begin offering hot foods, new equipment must be installed. They say the program "centerpiece" is a high-speed TurboChef Oven that combines radiant heat, microwave and convection cooking methods to deliver a traditional baked product 12 times faster than a conventional oven. That translates to a high-quality, oven-baked pizza in just 90 seconds or a plate of chicken wings in under three minutes. Other equipment in the food preparation area includes a heated display case, under-counter refrigerator, freezer and storage units, and a large freezer in the backroom.

“Taste testing with consumers proved the products to be a big hit,” Hansen said. “This product is not reheated in a microwave but, instead, actually oven-baked like a pizzeria. The TurboChef Oven can practically bake a pizza to order as fast as it takes to select some groceries, ring up the sale and make change.”

“Introducing the new, expanded hot menu is meeting customer demand for hot foods making 7-Eleven a convenient choice for a meal or snack,” said Kathy Hasty, 7-Eleven senior director for hot foods.

“We are reaching out to offer hungry consumers with a wider selection of fast and easy dining options, as well as making them affordable and portable,” Hasty said. “People are watching their dollars and looking for value more than ever, but they still have busy lives and need convenience. 7-Eleven’s new served-hot foods are an attractive alternative to traditional hot-food retailers.”