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Posted: June 27, 2013

Go nuts for donuts?

Get ready for slam-dunkin' time!

Laura Cook Newman

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.

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

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Readers Respond

It's comforting to read that I am not alone in my love (obsession?) of D&D. As for Kripy Kreme tanking in Colorado, I stand by that. After a robust (and overly saturated) start, I think there are two left in the Denver Metro area: If that "Hot Now" sign ain't on, ain't no one stopping for a cold glazed donut. By Chef Laura on 2013 07 09
Love the new picture... and am now desperately craving a chocolate glazed donut with an iced coffee on the side. By Jean L on 2013 07 09
Laura, I did exactly the same thing when I arrived in Colorado in 2008. Googled Dunkin and saw none here -- only Colorado Springs. So now, for mother's day, my only request is a trip to Dunkin Donuts for donuts. bagels and ice coffee!! Can't wait for the first one to open in Denver. Great article. By Conni on 2013 07 05
Yay for D&D. I'm a Jersey Girl and miss my D&D coffee. It's nothing like what you buy off the shelf at King Soopers. Every time I see a D&D at an East Coast airport I have to get my fix. By DJ Kraft on 2013 07 02
KK didn't tank here and makes the best donuts in town. They have mighty fine coffee too. By KK Haters on 2013 07 01
After D&D conquers CO, they're heading to Cali, to Cali, to Cali...I think so. There's one already on the USMC base in San Diego, but us mere civilians can't get access to the goods! As for "staying power" here in Denver, D&D won't tank like KK. Now granted neither shop is no Weight Watchers option, but consider that most of D&D's sales are from coffee, not food. So will we get "fat"? I guess that's up to the consumer. Maybe I will literally "run on Dunkin'"...and back. By Chef Laura on 2013 06 27
Dear Chef Laura, Thanks for the great article on DD. It brought back great childhood memories when my neighbor down the street parents owned a DD on Havana Street in Aurora. Boy how I loved those Chocolate glazed donuts. PS your old picture was fine. By Chef T Dub on 2013 06 27
MA has no real road barriers. You can just dart across streets to get to the Dunkin Donuts. It's easy in and out usually. Here, not so much. Won't be the same. Big opening like KK, then fizzle out again. Another step towards Colorado being as fat as the rest of America. By Dr. Do Not on 2013 06 27
I've made the drive to Colorado Springs more than once... So excited for the big opening. By Dahlia J. Weinstein on 2013 06 27
Great article, Laura. Congrats on your quest for a DD. I wonder if we'll ever get any in Cali? By Kat on 2013 06 27
Thank you for the entertaining (and enlightening) piece, Laura. I did wonder, after trying the DD coffee from the store, what everyone was raving about. Now I just have to see if I can go into DD and walk out with just coffee! By Sandra Payne on 2013 06 27
Chef, I was wondering does the coffee taste different in Colorado Springs? I figure the holy water must make it taste odd. By Ted Haggard on 2013 06 27
Laura, I'm a long time fan of Dunkin Donuts and was filled with joy as I drove down Broadway and saw the sign for the new store. I can't wait! I've always suspected that the DD I buy at the grocery store wasn't the same, now I know why. I have two issues with your article though, in the west it's called Slug Bug - Not Punch Buggy! Also nobody eats at Winchell's. By President of the International Slug Bug Society on 2013 06 27
as if i needed one more reason to visit Denver... can't wait! By Ta Tee on 2013 06 27
Good article. Like your new picture! By Pater Familias on 2013 06 27
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