The New Dunkin’ Donuts – in LA?
Not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but the Dunkin’ Donuts you know and love may soon be changing. According to a Time Magazine article a couple months ago…
If it weren’t for the pink door handle shaped like the letter D at the new Dunkin’ Donuts shop in Sarasota, Fla., you might think you had stumbled into a Starbucks. Bags of beans and oversize coffee mugs near the door? Check. A waiting area for lattes and cappuccinos? Check. Heck, there’s even free wi-fi and a rack of gift cards by the register.
This is the Dunkin’ Donuts of the future, a chic space with soaring ceilings and earth-toned walls that will be the prototype for every new store the 57-year-old chain opens. “We’re not a sleepy little New England company anymore,” says Dunkin’ Brands CEO Jon Luther, 63. Sure, they’ll still have time to make the doughnuts for your morning commute, but Luther thinks the slightly musty chain is ready to take on the industry giants–Starbucks and McDonald’s–on their turf. He started small, rolling out espresso drinks in 2003; they now account for 5% of sales. Next he plans to triple the number of U.S. stores, to 15,000, by 2020; expand the menu with pizza and flatbread sandwiches; and give the stores a much-needed makeover.
I just hope they expand out to the west coast. Everytime I visit the east coast I always grab a cup of DD coffee and a couple of bags to take back to LA.
BREAKING NEWS!: Just a couple days ago I spotted Dunkin’ Donuts bags of beans in a Los Angeles area Walgreens. To my knowledge this had previously been unavailable ANYWHERE on the west coast. Correct me if I’m wrong…
But don’t worry about DD turning into a Starbucks or McDonalds.
Instead of trying to compete head on at lunch and dinner, Dunkin’ is betting on snacks like smoothies and miniature pizzas. Drive-through customers account for 60% of its business, so Dunkin’ is focusing on food you can eat with one hand on the steering wheel. Since people stop in for coffee all day long, the hope is that they will be more inclined to grab a quick snack too. The prototype store uses high-speed ovens that can heat sandwiches in less than a minute while giving the bread those toasted brown edges no microwave can imitate.
But you won’t find a dollar doughnut menu at Dunkin’. Rather than engage in a price war with the fast-food giants, Dunkin’ is trying to close the gap between itself and Starbucks. Although it makes more money on breakfast sales overall than the Seattle-based chain, the average Dunkin’ check is just $1.85, vs. $3.75 at Starbucks, notes food analyst Tom Miner of research firm Technomic. Dunkin’ has positioned its breakfast sandwiches as quick quality, at the same price as Starbucks, $2.99. “I think they’re in a good position against their competitors,” says Miner. “Their biggest challenge is to focus on a couple of very popular items and do them really well.”
Oh, and just in case you want a Dunkin’ Donuts fix every morning, pick up one of these Retro Dunkin’ Donut Diner Mug featuring “Dunkie” the original mascot for $3.99.
Photo from Flickr.