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Go nuts for donuts?

Something’s “brewin’” in Denver…

It only took 63 years, but we’re finally getting Dunkin’ Donuts – again. 

Started in Quincy, Mass., “D&D” is an institution in New England.  The bubbly pink and orange font beckons all walks of life to satisfy a craving for caffeine and sugar. 

Up and down the Eastern seaboard, if spotting a D&D was like a game of “punch buggy”, your arm would be black and blue. One on every corner?  Pshaw!  Some intersections have two stores.  And here’s the crazier fact – they’re all busy.  God forbid we have to cross the street for a box of Munchkins!

Look closely, and the logo makes a cameo in every Boston-based blockbuster: Good Will Hunting, The Town, The Departed.  New Englanders don’t go to D&D “sometimes”; they go every day – often twice a day – morning for hot coffee, afternoon for iced (at least that’s how Ben Affleck and I roll).

D&D is just as much a “paaht of the culcha in Bahstin, as drahpin’ ya ahhs."  It’s the punch line of law enforcement jokes and how Bostonians give driving directions.   Knowing someone’s coffee order by heart distinguishes your real friends from mere acquaintances. 

You can image my surprise when I moved to Denver a decade ago, did a location search for Dunkin’ Donuts and found – nada.  I expanded the radius to 100 miles and three blipped up in the Springs.  One homesick day, I drove to there and back just for an iced coffee.  True story.

To get my “regulah” fix, I have their coffee shipped direct to me monthly.  Sadly, the D&D coffee at Safeway comes from Smuckers, the jam people, and is NOT the “good stuff.”  When my parents come to visit, it’s an unspoken rule that two bags of beans are the required admission to be a house guest.

Needing a more sustainable solution, I hounded D&D corporate offices in Canton, Mass. with email and snail mails inquiring when the heck Denver was going to get one.  And more importantly, how do I get a piece of the…cruller?  Glazed with disappointment, I was resigned that Denverites weren’t destined to “Run on Dunkin.’”

Then two years ago, I got the call: D&D is charging west—and would I like to own a franchise?  Yeehaw!  With all the jonesin’-Red-Sox-hat-wearin’ East Coast transplants here, opening a Mile High Dunkin’ would practically be permission to print money. 

To realize my American dream, I’d simply crack open my piggy bank for the first store; then in a year or so, open a second location.  Wake up and smell the coffee! D&D had gone Big Time.  The commitment: 12 to 15 stores, opening fast and furious, and it might help if your last name was Trump.  Dunkin’ Donuts is no bargain-basement Chick-Fil-A franchise that’s for sure.

Despite my lack of dough, there’s a cream-filling:  The stores are primed to open any week now.  One downtown replaces an old KFC - so long Colonel, hello Coolata!  And DIA, my jet-setting home away from home, gets one this fall.

Why is westward-ho different this time?  My theories:

  1.  They are strategically leveraging the 5 P’s:

People – hand-selected franchisees

Places – market-research driven locations

Price –their distribution channels are stronger than ever, keeping prices and brand consistency in check coast-to-coast.

Product – coffee is wildly popular and donuts are trending (Colfax gets the delightfully wacky Portland-based Voodoo Doughnuts soon!)

Promotion – national marketing campaigns, memorable branded messaging, innovative menu offerings and LTO’s.

  1. Corporate savvy. Since their humble beginnings, Dunkin’ Brands has acquired Baskin Robbins, appointed slick-Britt Nigel Travis as CEO and Chairman of the Board, gone public, and has an international presence (Dunkin’ Donuts Dubai!).   
  2. D&D is “Wicked Good!”It’s a welcome coffee change to Starbucks or McCafe.  And a delicious donut alternative to Winchell’s, Lamar’s, or Krispy Kreme.

So if you need me, I’ll be camped out at the corner of 4th and Broadway singing (Boston Native) Donna Summer’s “This time I know it’s for real!” Just look for the person wearing a Red Sox hat.

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Laura Cook Newman

Laura Cook Newman is a professional Chef and Training Manager for a Fortune 500 food manufacturer. She earned her chops at Johnson & Wales University, has an MBA in Marketing and hosts a blog for behind-the-scenes insights on the food service industry. Contact her at www.ThreeHotsAndaCot.net

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