7-Eleven has “embraced demand for a convenience lifestyle” like no-one else. An industry pioneer, 7-Eleven’s name reflects its roots when, in 1946, its first US-based stores were open from 7am to 11pm. Now it’s open 24 hours a day, and as the world’s largest convenience store chain impressed our judges with its innovative in-store services, expanding range of chilled foods and ability to tap into local knowledge across the 16 countries in which it operates. In Indonesia, for example, the franchise regularly hosts live bands.

Thanks to the provision of tables allowing friends to gather and use the in-store Wi-Fi, its c-stores have become hangouts for 20-somethings. And with 65% of its customers under the age of 30, the chain has also embraced social networking. Add to that franchise partners’ local knowledge in fast-growing Asia Pacific and the US, 7-Eleven added almost 5,000 stores to its worldwide portfolio last year, and expects the number of shops worldwide to exceed 50,000 by the end of Q1 2013. 

See the complete list of the World’s 50 Best Grocers.