business

7-Eleven store owners submit request for shorter business hours

41 Comments

Due to a shortage of workers, convenience store franchise owners have increasingly been dealing with the difficulty of operating their businesses 24 hours a day. On Wednesday, two representatives from the labor union of franchise convenience store owners visited 7-Eleven Japan Co’s corporate office in Tokyo to discuss reducing the 24-hour services currently offered nationwide.

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A sign on Sanetoshi Matsumoto's 7-Eleven store explains the shorter hours of business. Photo: YOUTUBE

The move comes amid a dispute between the convenience store operator and a franchisee in Higashi-Osaka City, who started closing his store between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Feb 1 due to a staff shortage, Fuji TV reported. The owner, Sanetoshi Matsumoto, 57, is being sued for 17 million yen by 7-Eleven Japan Co for allegedly breaching his contract. He said he had to shorten business hours because he didn't have enough part-time workers and he was having to work up to 16 hours a day and feared for his health.

According to the union’s request submitted on Wednesday, franchise owners criticized the current difficulty in changing business hours which requires company permission and the lack of discretion given to owners when it comes to flexibility in adjusting the 24-hour service standard. The owners are collectively requesting the major convenience store chain to allow shortened hours in cases where there is a shortage of part-time workers or where stores are in areas subject to heavy snowfall, for example, making it hard for staff and customers to reach the store.

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41 Comments
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Perhaps it is not just the shortage of workers, but also the minimum wage that is putting people off applying for jobs. The work is very hard with no real breaks and they have to stand the whole shift. It’s oretty hard work for ¥800 per hour.

27 ( +27 / -0 )

So....7/11 is essentially putting him out of business and closing the franchise. (unless 17 million is not an issues for store owners....is it?)

Makes sense I guess. Lol.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Initially 7/11 meant open from 7am to 11pm. I see nothing wrong with closing at certain times if there is no one to work in the store.

Why should it be difficult to change hours to something that meets the needs of the business?

Sometimes it’s not just the lack of workers, but also the general lack of customers in certain areas at certain times.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Hire more people and quit complaining or do other job, anyway you pay bottom wages for non skill work...

-24 ( +2 / -26 )

I don’t believe the wage comes from the owners. It comes from the franchise. They set certain limits the same way they set hours.

A huge example is McDonalds. In America, the wage that franchise owners can pay are set by the corporation. This is to help alleviate competition between franchise owners.

So the owners are not to blame for the low wage. It’s the 7/11 corporation.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

My son worked at one for about a year. In my opinion the pay at 1000/hour in Tokyo is pretty good. But he said that the number of tasks for the clerks keeps rising, including sending stuff, paying bills, recommending the best smokes, cooking all kinds of foods. Also, there is pressure to come in early and do prep tasks off the clock which of course is or should be illegal. Finally, I heard that if a clerk for example pierces a korokke (piece of fried potato) it is unsellable and will come out of their pay. Kind of ridiculous.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Alternatively, shut the store down and have the workers move to a different 7-11. Surely the market is over saturated...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Surely the market is over saturated...

This! Dentists, beauty salons and conbini. You could close down 9/10 and there'd still be dozens within walking distance of my home.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

A good example of why it's better to go it alone in the wild world of konbini than to operate a franchise. In a franchise you're on the hook for all the bills and you don't get to make any of the decisions, and it's a one size fits all operating code.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The one at Haneda Airport closes around midnight. At least it did last time I was there. Lots of passengers milling around in a brightly lit concourse and the combini is empty and dark.

I found this strange and ironic, since the airport brags about being ultra convenient and around-the-clock.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Pay as is normal in advanced places and you will get hours.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

anyway you pay bottom wages for non skill work...

Actually, it's no walk in the park. Try working a 12 hour day, on your own, stocking the shelves, making food for the customers, maintaining hygiene, cleaning the toilets, dealing with deliveries, working the til and totting up at the end of the shift.

Retail workers are heroes.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

If there is a short supply of workers, up the pay. To attract the best, you need to pay the best!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I see many Chinese and Indians working at the stores lately here in Tokyo, maybe it is changing? but may as well get everything on Amazon Japan.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Opening 24 hours a day makes non sense for most of the conbinis, except for a few ones in busy districts of major cities.

Back to the old days when it was closed, and people will get used to it anyway

In my city 80km from Tokyo in Chiba prefecture, I am quit sure nobody goes to the conbinis in the middle of night, except beer lovers

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I am quit sure nobody goes to the conbinis in the middle of night, except beer lovers

People coming back from Tokyo or getting up early for Tokyo wanting noodles, quick food, cigs. Late and early shift workers for sandwiches, reduced stock. You'd be surprised what people are looking for in the wee small hours.

Oh, and beer.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

If there is a short supply of workers, up the pay. To attract the best, you need to pay the best!

Aye to that.

Minimum wage is demoralising and insulting to those workers who give their all to the job.

Sure, it's not the sexiest of gigs out there, but it's still essential. Apart from cleaning out the toilets, which is pretty humbling. I'd recommed that to those who think hard work is inputting data on the pc. Not that there's anything wrong with that, either.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Pay better! You are welcome! Please send my consultation fee by furikomi please!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I saw an interview of a conbini owner on TV yesterday (I think it was) and he was saying there were so few customers during the night that paying anyone to work overnight, even minimum wage, put him in the red. And of course no one is willing to work the night shift for minimum wage.

Plus, the kind of demographic that works in conbinis (housewives, students, etc) don't want to - can't - work the midnight hours. People have lives.

If 7/11 are going to demand the shops stay open literally all hours, then they need to back up their franchise owners and help them, not push them into bankruptcy. Or allow shops in quieter areas to close at night.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

You shouldn't need that many people to run a 7-11. They need to start setting up self checkout stations. Even McDonald's and KFC have them in Singapore.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

They need to start setting up self checkout stations.

As an assist, sure. Can't see the scs cooking the snacks, cleaning the jacks and helping inebriated customers off the floor, mind.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I remember working in a lunchbox factory for Convenience Stores for 1 month when I was just fresh off the boat.

It was kind of hard but it was a great experience to understand a bit more about how Japan spins.

Ever since then I never really bought into the fear mongering idea of "aging collapsing Japan".

Japan doesn't need factories with workers making sandwiches and lunchboxes like crazy 24h a day.

Same goes with the 24h Convenience stores. Japan will not collapse, it will just slow down and let people live their actual lives.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I remember working in a lunchbox factory for Convenience Stores for 1 month when I was just fresh off the boat.

May I be so bold as to ask why you did just the one month? Was it pay, conditions or just the drudgery of it all?

It was kind of hard but it was a great experience to understand a bit more about how Japan spins.

Indeed, whether one has done it here or in other countries, there's no denying that factory work (the kind that the elite look down on and wish to deny us a minimum wage) is an experience. You get to meet great, decent people and feel part of a team. Even if the work can be a bit of a bore.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Well, it used to be open from 7 to 11.... 6 to 10 might work better, but that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and the signs would look dorky.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Never mind. At first the temp agency told me I would be working 8 hours a day.

Imagine the shock the first day I looked at the clock (19h) and when I was about to zoom out one of the managers shouted: ''what the HECK do you think you are doing??''

And then I was put back to the line to work until 22h.

Ever since my hours only increased to the point of only having time to go home, take a shower, have some snack brought from the factory and pass out on the floor. Literally from 6am to 23pm.

The pay was good (at least to make big money very fast) and you can buy tons of factory leftovers for peanuts but you start envying people in the streets living their actual lives when you barely have time to reply your Line friends check your e-mail and your "day" is over.

Regardless if you are frying stuff or making sushi, the rythm is absurd to the point you get a backache for simply being unable (not having enough time) to move any other part of your body apart of the specific ones needed for that task.

Ever since I laugh inside everytime I hear somebody talking about how Japan will ''collapse'' as the population ages. Time and quality of life are 2 things that absolutely no money in the world can buy.

Most supermarkets close down at 9pm in Toyama, Kagoshima but it seems the people there are surviving pretty fine.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

By the way you can meet a lot of hard working filipino women in these food factories, they all love to talk and have a good laugh. Just a shame you are never able to see how they look as the only visible part of your body during your 15h work shift are your eyes.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's not shortage of workers, it's shortage of wages.. Pay better, bi***es !!..

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's not shortage of workers, it's shortage of wages.. Pay better, bi***es !!..

To some extent, but there is also a prestige factor. For example, working at Starbucks has a lot of prestige for Japanese youngsters, but clerking at CircleK, not so much.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Speaking of 7-Eleven and the problems between the franchise and the franchisees:

http://www.generalunion.org/other-commercial-and-industrial/1319-the-reality-of-convenience-stores

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Time and quality of life are 2 things that absolutely no money in the world can buy.

No argument there. It should apply to both the workers and the customers.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Alternatively, shut the store down and have the workers move to a different 7-11. Surely the market is over saturated...

Correct. Within a 5 minute walk of where I am there are 6 7/11's. 6! Add the other chains and theres at least 15 stores. I would prefer a few larger stores with more variety and that treat their staff like humans rather than all these tiny shops.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Could lead to some interesting changes - An after hours entrance which involves a two door airlock style entrance - with video surveillance and only one person allowed inside at a time, with payment deducted upon the credit card used at the entrance. For quieter areas, outside of the normal operating hours - such a scheme may actually work. Then you wouldn't need staff between 11 am - 7am in those more isolated areas, and yet could still keep the store operational.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Franchisees pay for their own business and pay their own workers, if franchises are run the same there as in the US. Franchisees pay for just the brand name and then have to follow thousands of pages of regulations. The franchise corporation doesn't do anything for them, except sue for noncompliance. Perhaps franchisees should do what I've seen many others do - bland name: Sunbucks, WcDonaru, 8-11, Burger Madam & Sir, etc. Not copyright violations and owners can be free from cumbersome one-sided contracts.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The corporate rakeoff doesn't allow franchisees enough fiscal latitude to raise wages for part time employees without suffering a loss of wages themselves. There is little difference in the way these franchises are managed to the way that local branches of national corporations were traditionally managed, whether they were selling electronics or cosmetics made by a single manufacturer. It's themindset that needs to change. This sort of uber-communist centralised planning impedes risk taking and innovation - 2 things vitally absent from the Japanese economy. Ever wonder why an enteprenurial venture capital group has never developed here? Because it threatens the existing socio-economic hierarchy, and would be viewed as an existential threat by the small-minded bureaucrats (paid by the larege corporations) who make the rules.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well it seems to me it should be called 7/24, or 24/7, what a joke to call it 7/11 and expect those ridiculous long hours with little custom, there are plenty of vending machines, smokers can use patches, you guys really know how to work yourselves into the ground.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Why don't you sleep at night, and work nine to five like the rest of us, we really don't need so many cars over here !

Then your conveniance store people could go back to seven to eleven like they are here.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Why don't they open from 7AM to 11PM, as the name originally meant?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Lots of deep inaka 7-11s don't open 24 hrs, I suppose they have a different contract. Plus the Queen Conbini Bee keeps on dropping loads of new conbinis every year, must be a tough business. Reminds me of the 'Shoe Event Horizon' Douglas Adams (Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy) once wrote about. We're all doomed.

https://hitchhikers.fandom.com/wiki/Shoe_Event_Horizon

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Most conbinis do not need to be open 24 hours a day. Very few places do. If you can't get the staff it's very stupid of 7/11 to complain when the franchise owner refuses to work themselves to death. Maybe the company can up the minimum wage and introduce better working conditions, otherwise they'll soon have trouble finding staff for day shifts.

My husband's aunt and uncle had a combini franchise a few years back, it was in a good location and had heavy footfall, but the money they has to pay out to the company for every little thing, and the endless petty rules they had to follow made the franchise a millstone around their necks. It made them ill. Goodness knows how fanchisers manage now.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Perhaps it is not just the shortage of workers, but also the minimum wage that is putting people off applying for jobs. The work is very hard with no real breaks and they have to stand the whole shift. It’s oretty hard work for ¥800 per hour.

My son lives in an area in Tokyo and he told me that his local family mart was offering 2,000 per hour for night time workers. Evidently they were flooded with applications!

Pay them and they will come!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

haha, hard work ... stocking shelves.... the struggle ... I imagine it could be difficult to someone used to read manga all day long doing nothing... but no, it aint hard or skilled work.. it shouldnt pay more than 1000Y an hour at most... and if you dont like it, you can easily be replaced.

I do grant you that there should be better oversight regarding the locations.. I often see like 3 7/11s within 100m ... ridiculous at best

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

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