Why Dunkin’ Is Taking On Starbucks And Betting On Coffee


Dunkin’ is placing a
huge bet on coffee. When you walk into a Dunkin’
today, you’ll notice way more coffee options and far fewer donuts than you
would have just a few years ago. And it’s not just drip
coffee on the menu anymore. There’s everything from Cinnamon Sugar
Pumpkin Lattes to Coolatta’s to premium espresso. At the chain’s newest stores you’ll even
find Nitro Cold Brew on tap. It’s all part of Duncan’s $100
million investment to refresh the brand and become a
major player in coffee. CEO David Hoffmann believes espresso is
key to fueling the company’s long term growth. The aggressive push into beverages comes
at a time when the coffee wars are heating up. Competitors like McDonald’s are
slashing prices through deals. While coffee giant Starbucks is taking
bets on more expensive drinks, a revamped loyalty
program and delivery. But Duncan’s rebrand strategy encompasses
more than just coffee. The company also wants to aggressively
expand across the country and revamp its restaurants
with new technology. The chain changed its name, simplified
its menu and started rolling out new store designs. It got a new CEO and made
some changes to leadership at the top. Dunkin’ needs this
strategy to work. Traffic in stores has slowed and
annual comparable store sales at Dunkin took a one
percent dip in 2017. While slow traffic and lagging same
store sales aren’t unique to Dunkin’, they are dialing up
pressure on the chain. So will that $100 million dollar
investment be enough to fuel Dunkin’s move into the big
leagues with McDonald’s and Starbucks? Or will the hit to profits just
cost the company in the end? Dunkin’ got its start
here in Quincy, Massachusetts. When Bill Rosenberg left school in
the eighth grade, he dabbled in catering but soon realized 40 percent
of his revenue came from two simple products —
coffee and pastry. In 1948, Rosenberg opened a restaurant
that sold five cent doughnuts and 10 cent cups of coffee. Two years later, Rosenberg renamed
the restaurant “Dunkin’ Donuts”. The restaurant was a hit. In 1955, the first
Dunkin’ Donuts franchise opened. That same year, the first
McDonald’s franchise opened too. By 1963, Dunkin’ Donuts
opened its 100th location. “This is one of the original
publicly traded 100 percent franchise businesses. I mean, it’s a
true asset light model. Versus, you know, McDonald’s is trending
towards its 92 or 93 percent franchise globally, moving towards 95,
Wendy’s is 95 percent, but they weren’t there five years ago. Whereas Dunkin, when it went public, I
think in 2011, it was already 100 percent franchised. And it really built the appreciation
for those types of businesses in the industry.” That growth model worked
well for Dunkin’. Franchising meant fewer actual
assets and higher profits. Dunkin’ started expanding internationally in
1970 when it opened its first overseas location in Japan. As of Q2 2019, there are over
12,800 Dunkin’ locations, in more than 40 countries. Dunkin’ Brands went public in 2011,
selling around $423 million worth of shares. For comparison, Chipotle raised
$193 million when it went public in 2006 when
adjusted to 2011 dollars. Then CEO Nigel Travis told CNBC,
the company would use profits from its IPO to expand West and
internationally and pay down its debts. Analysts said the stock was overvalued
because its price hinged on the hope that Dunkin’ would recreate
its success in the Northeast, across the rest of the country. At the time of the IPO, there was
only one Dunkin’ Donuts on the West Coast, in Portland, Oregon. The company has since expanded its
West Coast presence with 102 locations in California and 12
in Hawaii as of 2019. But even as Dunkin’ has pushed to
grow its footprint west of the Mississippi and internationally, it
hasn’t forgotten about the Northeast. Dunkin’ is the largest chain in
New York City for the tenth consecutive year, with 624
locations as of December 2018. In 2018, after 70 years of
Dunkin Donuts, the restaurant dropped the doughnuts and became just Dunkin’. “We think about it less about
dropping doughnuts then just leaning into Dunkin’. Dunkin’ is
what we’re known as for almost 20 years. We’ve been America
runs on Dunkin'”. Beverage sales make up almost 60
percent of Duncan’s revenue, so growth in the category is essential
to the company’s overall health. In 2017, Dunkin’ told Nation’s
Restaurant News, that most stores would offer fewer than
20 different donuts. That was a big decrease from
the 30 varieties it typically offers. While Dunkin’ has simplified its food
offerings, it keeps adding to its coffee menu. For about
45 years, Dunkin’s coffee offerings extended only to its
original blend drip coffee. But in 1997, Dunkin’ decided to make
a big push into the beverage market. That was the year it
rolled out the Coffee Colada slush drink. In 2000, Dunkin’ started
selling the blended Dunkaccino. And by 2003, it
began to offer espresso. Dunkin’ relaunched its espresso lineup in
2018 with new machines, new recipes and new
training for employees. It’s a move some say has a whole
lot to do with Dunkin’ angling to become a premier brand
on par with Starbucks. “I think that the initiative to
modernize would absolutely come from their largest competitor, which is
Starbucks, which it has really reinvented what coffee means to
consumers on a daily basis. So, yeah, it’s always good to kind
of have a, you know, an arch enemy, if you will, out there, a
bad guy, whatever you want to call them, because they force you
to stay on your toes.” It seems to be working. Espresso sales for Dunkin’
are on a tear. In its annual report
for fiscal year 2018, Dunkin’ U.S., said it
sells approximately 1.7 billion servings of hot and iced
coffee each year, and espresso accounts for about 10 percent
of Duncan’s overall sales mix. The company reported sales of espresso
based beverages were up 40 percent in the second quarter of
2019 when compared to the year prior. “That move into
the espresso beverages, this is a space that their key
competitor really owned and had an advantage over them. Think about the length of the
order that somebody might give a barista at a Starbucks, for example, versus,
you know, just a cup of coffee at Dunkin'”. But Dunkin’ can’t just
mimic Starbucks to succeed. It needs to stay true to its brand. Dunkin’ is all about a quick,
affordable menu and making trends accessible to everyone. That’s not necessarily a
natural fit with espresso. So analysts warn that Dunkin’ has to
be careful about its move into espresso. Customers are typically suspicious when
a brand tries to do something that doesn’t
feel authentic. But if Dunkin’s espresso based beverage
sales so far are any indicator, this product could unlock
big potential for the chain. However, coffee remains a crowded market,
and Dunkin’ is fighting for market share against
some formidable opponents. Starbucks with its vast footprint,
McDonald’s with all day breakfast and the regional but beloved
Tim Hortons and Krispy Kreme. As of September 2019,
Dunkin’ has a $6.8 billion dollar market cap and its shares
are up about 8 percent over the last 12 months. But, it still has a ways to
go to compete with giants like McDonald’s and Starbucks, which have about a
$167 billion and $115 billion market cap, respectively as
of September 2019. In fiscal year 2018, Dunkin’ U.S.’s sales were also dwarfed
by the competition. Dunkin’ reported revenues of $606.8 million dollars. McDonald’s sales were more
than 12 times that. And Starbucks brought in $16.7 billion in the Americas,
which includes the U.S., Canada and Latin America. Espresso is a premium product and
typically costs more than other beverages. That means it pushes the
average check price higher, which in turn makes up for slowing
traffic because people are spending more when they do walk through the door. In 2018, a party’s average check
at Dunkin’ was eight dollars and five cents. That’s higher than
its Canadian competitor, Tim Hortons, but lower than Starbucks. The most recent check averages don’t include
2019 data, so it may be too soon to measure Duncan’s
revamped espresso lineup, which started to roll out at the end of 2018. Dunkin’ has long struggled with how
to drive up afternoon foot traffic. It has extended cold beverage
offerings and offered deals ranging from two bagels for $4
dollars to $2 lattes. “The beverages in the
morning, that’s their core. And that’s where the
franchisees make their money. But as far as the afternoon
business is concerned, the “Dunkin’ Run” and the “Go2s”, a lot of times
those promotions, if they are on beverages, they’re usually after two
o’clock in the afternoon. So, you know, the afternoon “Run”
seems to be stabilizing the afternoon business.” Dunkin’ Brands has also tried, and
arguably failed, at using ice cream to drum up afternoon sales. Baskin Robbins and Dunkin’ are
both operated under Dunkin’ Brands, but Baskin hasn’t performed
as well as Dunkin’. Its sales growth
has been lackluster. From 2007 up until it changed
course in 2011, the chain posted negative annual comparable
store sales. Baskin Robbins again posted negative same
store sales for the fiscal year 2018. Analysts say, Baskin might not be adding
much in sales to the brand, but it’s not
really deadweight either. A dual store with both a Baskin
and a Dunkin’ is attractive to some franchisees to boost sales outside
the morning coffee rush. A dual store costs as little as
ten thousand dollars more to open than a standalone Dunkin’ and
doesn’t require extra workers or machinery. Dunkin’ is also trying to keep up
with change in the fast food industry by testing plant based meat
and a partnership with GrubHub in some locations. “The online ordering system now
is much more robust. And our guests can get products
anytime they want, anywhere they want. And, you know, we’re living
in a culture now of everything being on demand. Now you can
get your coffee on the demand.” Dunkin’ started offering Beyond Meats
sausage in Manhattan, and the company says, it’s selling well
and drawing repeat customers to Dunkin’. Dunkin’ has been testing
delivery through partnerships with GrubHub, DoorDash and
other local companies. It plans to expand the partnership
with GrubHub to other major cities in the U.S. “Consistency of experience. It’s not a big deal when you’re ordered
from a mom and pop pizza or taco place. But for us,
the consistency is really important.” But there are unique
challenges in delivering coffee. Experts say Dunkin’ and other cafes might
not be a natural fit for delivery, because coffee has to
maintain its temperature to be appealing. Think, watery iced coffee
or a room temperature latte. It’s also betting big
on store format. Part of that $100 million cash
injection went toward the rollout of an entirely new kind
of Dunkin’ shop. It’s a layout called the “Next
Generation” store and Dunkin’ hopes it will modernize the brand’s image
and keep it relevant for the next
generation of customers. Dunkin’ plans to add 200 to 250
net new restaurants a year for three years starting in 2019. “It completely changes the way the
customer interacts with our crews. There’s nothing between the crew from
the customers, so the customers can now engage with our crews and
ask questions and learn about the product.” Dunkin’ says the new store is
slightly more expensive than previous remodels because there’s more
technology in this design. The company didn’t disclose the cost
of the new layout to CNBC. “The returns are actually very exciting
and better than the previous iterations. So working very closely
with our franchisees, we’ve gotten to a place that we feel
very good, both sides on the investment that they’ll be making
for this next gen transformation.” Next gen stores are also a big
part of Dunkin’s push to digital ordering. Mobile ordering is another
area where Starbucks has Dunkin’ beat. About 4 percent of orders
at Dunkin’ are made through mobile phones. At Starbucks the number
is closer to 16 percent. Experts are optimistic that the next
gen store will improve that metric. The designs have a larger space
for people who are picking up online orders. “And the next gen store has an
even bigger area dedicated to this and we’re seeing probably twice the average
percentage of on the go orders through the next gen
stores, which is tremendous.” Some of the new stores also have
a dedicated mobile lane in the drive thru. That should help prevent bottleneck
issues like the ones seen in some Starbucks when the company
added mobile ordering in 2017. Next gen stores also have an 8
tap system for cold drinks, just like the doughnut cases it’s all about getting products in
front of customers to increase how much they spend. With drinks on
tap, crew members function more like bartenders than baristas. “Bartenders are quick
on their feet, they know your name, they
know how to sample drinks. But most importantly, they’re great
at serving the customer.” As of 2019, customers rated the barista
expertise at Dunkin’ at a 90 out of 100. Starbucks scored
at 94 out of 100. While McDonalds was lower at 78. In its next gen stores Dunkin’
hopes that number will go up. Dunkin’ has been a reliable
brand throughout its existence, growing at a slow and steady rate. It hasn’t had any major scandals like
some of its competitors and its franchisee relationship is strong. So how has Dunkin’ maintained
solid and steady growth? One expert says, it all
comes down to loyalty. Dunkin’ ranks pretty high in
satisfaction, slightly below Starbucks, but above McDonald’s, according to
the American Consumer Satisfaction Index. But if satisfaction is a
moment in time, loyalty tells the future. And, it is in
metric where Dunkin’ shines. For 13 years through 2019, Dunkin’
has ranked number one in consumer loyalty in the out-of-home
coffee provider category. In the packaged coffee category, it’s
been number one for eight years. That’s no easy task in
a field as competitive as coffee. Robert Pascal, whose firm measures
consumer loyalty, says having highly loyal customers ensures that they’ll
come back again and again and again. “When we look at all the metrics
against old rivals, against all the expectations is up at
about 95 percent. That’s pretty good. You look at someone like Starbucks and
they are a little bit lower.” And loyalty is valuable to a brand
for more than just its bottom line. Loyal customers are more likely
to buy products associated with the brand. Recommend the brand to
others and invest in publicly traded stocks. Despite low traffic
and intense coffee competition, Dunkin’ is betting that new
logos, sparkling espresso machines and trendy partnerships will be enough
to help it grow up.

100 thoughts on “Why Dunkin’ Is Taking On Starbucks And Betting On Coffee

  1. Dunken gets their coffee from smucker's….same folks that makes folger's…think about it…

  2. Every time I go inside for Doughnuts, the line is ridiculously slow. They need a better system for getting customers checked out.

  3. I go to Starbucks because they do have different milk options and I am lactose intolerant and I love their customer service. Plus me and expresso we don't get along.

  4. I want dunkin in Bangladesh. If you’re not planning to expand your business here, you are losing huge.

  5. Starbucks si getting too expensive. Dunkin makes good coffee but their food is bad and the donuts are not as good. because they no longer make them in house.

  6. Tip for anyone that likes lattes with an extra espresso shot: Just order a macchiatto. It could be anywhere from 30 cents to 70 cents cheaper for the same thing not stirred. Just tell them to stir it for stir it yourself

  7. Starbucks may be overpriced, but Dunkins coffee tastes like trash 🤮

  8. I'm trying to avoid sugar so I usually go to Dunkin and get a sugar free French vanilla latte. I went to Starbucks not long ago asking for kind of the same thing……I got a vanilla latte with the syrupy sweet vanilla 😑😑😑😑😑 so I just stick with Dunkin for health reasons/ because I know I can get a sugar free coffee there that isn't black and gross

    I still call it Dunkin Donuts lol. I remember having very fond memories of getting donuts there as a kid, the powdered sugar one was always my favorite. The munchkins were really good too.

  9. Having a baskin Robbins with the Dunkin combined is a good idea in the summer months. There's always a lot of people in there when it's really hot out, if they not at dairy queen further down the road

  10. People are really badly calibrated: Starbucks 'baristas' are utterly incompetent at pulling a remotely-decent espresso. (Not their fault: Automated equipment + poor training.).

  11. Dunkin kept winning on starbucks coffee on blind test too. And that’s not only amongst laypeople but also amongst expert.

  12. Dunkin could try all it wants but they will never catch up to Starbucks. The one reason why is this alone customer service. Starbucks is always a pleasant experience and always gets the coffee correct, Dunkin employees are always grumpy and the majority of the time I always get my coffee wrong. And I use to love Dunkin’.

  13. These Graphics are wrong!
    Canada does not have any Dunkin Donuts!!
    Let me guess, CNBC is sponsored by DD?
    If you read some of the comments here.. you will find that their store map
    is seriously wrong with many of the so called location countries not actually
    having any DD stores at all!!

  14. 1:47 Sir, that is not Quincy, that is Quincy Market, in BOSTON. Quincy is several stops down the Red Line T to the southeast.

  15. If it tastes good and the price is right, they will be successful. The worst thing about coffee is if it's not fresh roasted. This what keeps me out of fast food for the most part, other than the horrible quality of the foods. I love espresso, and if Duncan can do it right I would go there.

  16. This was great until that damn cell phone alarm or ringtone chime lept driving me crazy. Once you hear it you'll understand.

  17. I had some bad experiences at Dunkin Donuts this year. So much so that I have decided to never purchase from one of their stores again.

  18. Dunkin quality and pricing but with starbucks hiring standards. We would have the best coffee/cafe experience ever.

  19. Dunkin used to have the best coffee. It was very flavorful but at some point they changed it. Now I can get a nice cup of coffee at a local WAWA cheaper. There is a local mom and pop coffee shop near me that gives me a great cup of coffee for $1.61. i would get a Dunkin coffee before a Starbucks.

  20. Why americans are experts in destroying coffee with Frappuccinos, Dunkaccino, Coffee Coolatta and many other ridiculous drinks?

  21. I work at Starbucks and the coffee tastes awful! Every barista I know agrees with me. It's also ridiculously overpriced. I've never been to a D&D but it looks like they have way too many options and like you cant just hangout and study there.

  22. dunkin's food is way too greasy and their flavored lattes are way too sweet and flavored

  23. Starbucks coffee sucks ass.Dunkin's coffee is better because it has a taste that is liked by more folks

  24. Holding Dunkin next to someone with Starbucks is like wearing a dollar store wired headset next to someone with airpods

  25. "Customers can now engage with our crews & learn about our products."

    Really?

  26. Dunkin needs to train their employees better and also open up to having vegan options and different milk options in general for ALL drinks and if they did that I guarantee they’d get so many customers! Veganism is on the rise they might as well get some revenue from it

  27. Dunkin' coffee is better tasting and of more consistent quality than everyone's else… that's probably where the loyalty's coming from

  28. I want the Competition so there is some fire under the massive chain's butts, but my LORD is Dunkin awful, walk in and the always have found the biggest jerk to be taking orders and then they hand you the sweetest mud water on the planet, its like they purchase awful beans, brew them with tap water, and then go to Walmart and buy the store brand corn syrup and dump an entire ladle of it in the drink

  29. Well if you look at Greggs in the UK which made it's name as a bakery business in Newcastle.They were looking at closing stores in 2013 until a new CEO (Roger Whiteside) took charge and changed the focus of the business to Food on the Go including the traditional sausage rolls and bakes but focussed also on freshly made sandwiches, baguettes and salads as well as freshly ground coffee to compete with the coffee shops (at half the price of Costa and Starbucks). Today in 2019, Greggs is worth over £1 billion and is a high street success story.

    In relation to Dunkin', the switch of focus to coffee could also mean they become a success story.

  30. I would buy Dunkin more if they get rid of the styrofoam. They promise some time back yet currently still use Styrofoam. Please go to paper.

  31. Dunkin’ Donuts was good for me because of their donuts and I think Krispy Kream can take over.

  32. Idk how to order at DD. The coffee is always way to damn sweet. It’s easier ordering at Starbucks. 🤷🏼‍♀️

  33. Sure Starbucks is more expensive but dunkin has no chance at making coffee as good as Starbucks

  34. Dunkin coffee tastes like burnt sesame. Starbucks customer service is a key why they have more customers. They give you an extra cup if your drink is too hot. If you put too much sugar or milk, they make it over for free. Dunkin and 7 eleven employees wouldn't give you anything extra unless you pay for it. Pay full price for an extra cup? I mean, not every customer does it, but maybe 1 out of 15, starbucks didnt go bankrupt because of it yet, so making drinks a lot cheaper isnt necessarily going to get them customer loyalty.

  35. EEWWWWW Dunkin is yucky! so gross. Starbucks is way better and the people who work at Starbucks are way nicer and look so much better. I used to work at dunkin and I quit that place wost place to work!

  36. I freaking love dunkin donuts lattes! But lattes are way too expensive. Like in general not just at dunkin

  37. Does everything have to be a competition. I like Starbucks and its not going to change

  38. LMAO. I will never forget getting my first cup of iced coffee in the US at Dunkins. I took my cup, filled with sugar unstirred at the bottom (and I'd asked for less sugar). I took it back to the lady and she was like, "What's wrong with it???". Literally a concrete slab of granular sugar, that's what's wrong it. I just looked at her about as puzzled as she was looking at me, I tossed it in the trash and went to Starbucks. Since then, I'd tried it 5-6 more times. Once, it was fine… not good, but fine.

    The problem's with their training. Not their product. Another timeless tale of incompetent CEOs and higher-ups in a company that don't want to take a look at their failures in keeping up their company, but want to blame it on consumer demand.

    KMart, Zellers, and Sears didn't fail because their products weren't good enough. Their employees and policies were mental, and Walmart, Amazon, and BestBuy were offering better return policies and customer service.

    100M dollars for a company that big is like putting a bandaid on bleeding artery. They need to retrain their employees, up their standards for their coffee blends and coffee making. Probably closer to 300-500M investment and overhaul… but they're not going to do that.

  39. With subway u sign up for the app and get 250 points, free coffee is 100 points, so… Just buy 1 thing and get 50 points so 2 coffees = 1 free coffee

  40. It's good they are starting to get rid of styrofoam. I don't buy any products in styrofoam.

  41. They should make their stores more cafe like and make their hiring process stricter. It would definitely improve their sales…

  42. Well maybe if they closed on Thanksgiving and cared about there employees but that's tea not coffee soooo

  43. Dunkin’ Donuts, Wegman’s, AND WAWA have thee most awesome coffee, hands down! Cheaper AND TASTES BETTER👍🏽👍🏽Starbucks is a joke; the last time I brought their coffee was in 2007. I only brought lattes from them. Then one day I wanted to try a simple cup of coffee…NASTY. STARBUCKS is just overpriced, snobbery and hype. Folks need to get off the Starbucks train, and put all of that money to good use; Saving and investing.

  44. Unfortunately dunkin sucks tho 🤷‍♀️😂 not just because they have crap coffee but the customer service is awful. When I go to dunkin I expect to see homeless and trash outside their buildings, 100% opposite with Starbucks. Dunkin is literally five blocks from my house and I drive five miles to go to Starbucks because it’s trash 🤷‍♀️

  45. I miss when their donuts tasted good and fresh, it's a shame they lost their focus on them.

  46. Over priced coffee for what they charge for a cup of hot coffee they should offer free refills. I stopped buying their over priced coffee McDonald's gives free refills and the coffee is great.

  47. Both have bad coffee
    The only thing they have is too many locations and there for we have no choice but to shop for coffee at their locations

  48. The donuts have Dunkin have really sunk in terms of quality. I remember eating delicious jelly filled jelly donuts as a kid. Now, the jelly donuts have less than a small spoonful of jelly, and similar things have happened with their other donuts as well.

  49. Dunkin coffee is better to me and better priced.If they had decent food they would do better.

  50. In my country, Dunkin has been losing from J.Co because J.CO also serves as a cafe. I think Dunkin is now following the same path.

  51. I wanted to try Dunkin’s caramel macchiato type drink but they did not have decaffeinated espresso so it was a no go for me.
    And i love that Dunkins has baskin robbins- jamoca almond fudge is everything!!!!

  52. I like dunkin’. Never been to a lame Starbucks because that would hurt my pride. I don’t want to be another idiot overpaying for coffee.

  53. i dont know about everyone…but i like gas station coffee better than these luxury coffee places

  54. I always thought that Dunki was trying to copy Starbucks for like a decade now but as someone who frequents both chains, I can say, Dunkin improved their espresso drinks and that they have gotten into their own groove, especially now that they carry the Beyond Sausage, something I haven't seen Starbucks jumping on yet.

  55. The problem with dunkin' donuts is that their whole aesthetic is really ugly, the colors of the establishments are insufferable and it looks more like a brothel rather than a coffee shop.

  56. Dunkin's coffee is inconsistent store to store. Most of time is dispointment. I don't know if their franchisees is cheap or what by add extra cup of hot water to the coffee just try to get extra $$ out a pot. Their coffee is tasteless. Wawa coffee is more consistent.

  57. The combination of Baskin Robbins and Dunkin Donuts is a winner. They should have more of those.

  58. I think it's rich that they say espresso products are a 'premium' product. Coffee is actually pretty cheap, so is milk (the math is easy really, if you order an espresso from Starbucks it costs like $1, but a cappuccino costs $3 or more, do you think milk costs $2?!).
    Why does Starbucks charge $3.00 or more for a coffee? Because of the experience. Shops have a nice decor, the staff know what they're doing (mostly), there's music, wifi, etc. Dunkin looks, tastes and feels cheap. If these new stores improve that, that's great; but if they don't work on that, all those 'premium' espresso drinkers won't bother

  59. Maybe Baskin Robbin should be the first big ice cream chain to offer the most varieties of the best tasting dairy free frozen treats. It’s not just a diet fad. This would be a dream come true for thousands of Lactose intolerant people!😋🍦🍨

  60. Dunkin Doughnuts can have all the flavors they want, as long as there coffee is just tinted water they will never beat places like Starbucks.

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