Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts
Subsidiary of Dunkin' Brands
Industry Food and Beverage
Founded Quincy, Massachusetts, United States (1950 (1950))
Founder William Rosenberg
Headquarters 130 Arch Street, Canton, Massachusetts, United States
Number of locations
11,000 shops
Area served
Key people
  • Baked goods
  • Hot beverages
  • Iced Beverages
  • Frozen beverages
  • Sandwiches
  • Soft drinks
Revenue Increase US$10.1 billion[1] (2015)
Parent Dunkin' Brands
Website DunkinDonuts.com

Dunkin' Donuts is an American global donut company and coffeehouse chain based in Canton, Massachusetts, in Greater Boston. It was founded in 1950 by William Rosenberg in Quincy, Massachusetts.[2] Since its founding, the company has grown to become one of the largest coffee and baked goods chains in the world, with more than 12,000 restaurants in 36 countries.[3][4] The chain's products include donuts, bagels, other baked goods, and a wide variety of hot and iced beverages.[5][6]

Before 1990, Dunkin' Donuts' primary competitor was Mister Donut, but in February of that year Mister Donut was acquired by Dunkin' Donuts' owner Allied-Lyons.[7] After the acquisition of Mister Donut by Allied-Lyons, all Mister Donut stores in North America were offered the chance to change their name to Dunkin' Donuts.[7]

As of 2014, Dunkin' Donuts is owned by Dunkin' Brands Inc., which also owns Baskin-Robbins and previously owned the Togo's chain.


Founding and establishment

A Dunkin' Donuts shop in Islamabad, Pakistan

The name has evolved since William Rosenberg opened his first restaurant in 1948 as 'Open Kettle,' in Quincy, Massachusetts. The name changed to 'Kettle Donuts' in 1949, and the now corporate name 'Dunkin' Donuts' was adopted in 1950.[8] Rosenberg conceived of the idea for the chain after his experiences selling food in factories and at construction sites, where donuts and coffee were the two most popular items.[3] Rosenberg sold franchises of Dunkin' Donuts to others as early as 1955. In 1959, the company began growing, which led Rosenberg to lobby for Dunkin' Donuts at the International Franchise Association.

In 1963, Rosenberg’s son Robert assumed leadership of the company at the age of 25, shortly after graduating from Harvard Business School. Robert stewarded the Company for the next 35 years. During that period, he and a management team of existing executives, franchise owners, and a few college friends began to change the business in fundamental ways.

In 1963, Dunkin’ Donuts opened its 100th location, but the brand was not yet the household name that it is today. The company was known as ‘Universal Food Systems’, a portfolio of 10 small food service businesses, including a vending machine company, industrial catering trucks, a cafeteria division, a delicatessen, a few pancake houses, a 15 cent hamburger chain called ‘Howdy Beef N’ Burger’ and most importantly, a number of Dunkin' Donuts shops. However, at the time, each Dunkin’ Donuts location varied greatly. Some locations had 18 stools, while others were much larger, seating up to 100 customers. The menu varied greatly as well. Some shops served a wide variety of offerings, including eggs, pancakes, hamburgers and hot dogs, while others had a more limited menu, offering just donuts and coffee.

Over the course of the next 35 years, this team:


Robert retired in July 1998. In the intervening 35 years the Dunkin' Donuts brand had grown from 100 stores and $10 million in system wide sales to 2,500 locations worldwide and over $2 billion in sales.

William Rosenberg, the founder, had retired from the company in the mid 1980s and died on September 20, 2002, from bladder cancer at the age of 86 in Mashpee, Massachusetts.[3]


In 2004, the company's headquarters were relocated to Canton.[9] The following year, four-time James Beard Foundation Award nominee Stan Frankenthaler was appointed the company's debut Executive Chef/Director of Culinary Development.[10] In 2006, Dunkin' Donuts began using the slogan "America Runs on Dunkin'" which continues to be used in many advertisement campaigns.[11]

In 2008, Dunkin' Donuts opened its first "green" restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida, that is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified. The location program includes: worm composting to repurpose such wastes as coffee grounds and paper products into fertilizer for local farms and gardens, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, and the use of well water rather than potable water for all landscape irrigation.[12] On December 10, 2008, Nigel Travis was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Dunkin’ Brands. He also assumed the role of Dunkin’ Donuts President at the end of 2009.


In 2010, Dunkin' Donuts' global system-wide sales were $6 billion.[13] In 2011, Dunkin' Donuts ranked first for customer loyalty in the coffee category by Brand Keys for five continuous years.[14]

In April 2012, Dunkin' Donuts switched its beverage provider from PepsiCo to The Coca-Cola Company, since rivals increasingly served PepsiCo products in the United States; however, PepsiCo's Gatorade remained on the menu. Canadian restaurants did not switch.

In 2012, Dunkin' Donuts launched an application for payment and gifting for iPhone, iPod touch, and Android smartphones.[15]

In May 2013, Nigel Travis assumed the role of Chairman of the Board, and Paul Twohig was appointed to President, Dunkin' Donuts U.S. & Canada.[16]

Dunkin' Brands was bought by French beverage company Pernod Ricard S.A. from Allied Domecq under the corporate name of Allied Domecq Quick Service Restaurants. Pernod Ricard agreed in December 2005 to sell Dunkin' Brands to a consortium of three private-equity firms: Bain Capital Partners, the Carlyle Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

On October 1, 2015, Dunkin' Brands announced that 100 Dunkin' Donuts locations would close. While some analysts showed concern that the company may have expanded too fast, all of the affected locations were owned by Speedway LLC, which were acquired through its acquisition of Hess Corporation's retail operations. The company said it still plans on opening new locations elsewhere, including California.[17]

In July 2016, Dunkin announced their latest attempt to establishing a foothold in the Chinese market with a 1,400 store expansion over the next 20 years. The new locations will be part of a franchise agreement with Jollibee Foods Corporation and Jasmine Asset Holding. The new shops will offer savory pastries and have a cafe atmosphere.[18]


A display of donuts at a Dunkin' Donuts franchise

Dunkin' Donuts has several varieties of donuts.[5][6] Other bakery goods and sandwiches include bagels, cookies, muffins, donut holes under the brand name "Munchkins", oven-toasted sandwiches under the brand name "Big N' Toasted", and a glazed donut breakfast sandwich. However, only 8% of the chain's sales are donuts; 65% are drinks, and 27% are other food items.[19] Hot drinks include coffee, tea and hot chocolate; cold drinks include iced tea and "Coolatta", which is an iced drink served since 1997, flavoured either with coffee and cream, or as a slush, made with fruit juice.[20][21]There are also ice coffees, lattes, and macchiatos that can have flavors such as caramel, hazelnut, and vanilla added to them. Seasonal flavors are also presented to customers for a certain duration of time. During the fall, customers can also choose pumpkin or salted caramel as a flavor. During the winter, customers can have peppermint hot chocolate.

Since October 18, 2007, Dunkin' Donuts locations in the United States have reduced trans fats from their menu items by switching to a blend of oils: palm, soybean and cottonseed.[22] International locations are expected to adopt the change over time.[23] The DDSmart menu features items that are reduced no less than 25 percent of any one of the following: calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, or sodium.[24]

As of May 2015 the Dunkin' Donuts website claimed "there are countless steps involved in producing coffee."[25]


A script version of the words Dunkin' Donuts was filed on March 31, 1955, and registered on February 2, 1960. It was subsequently cancelled because of Section 8. It was later reinstated, as a trademark upon Section 8 was accepted on July 3, 2001. The stylized word mark is owned by DD IP Holder LLC.[26]

A later logo Dunkin' Donuts registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office was for a drawing and word logo depicting what can be described as a "donut man", a figure with a donut for a head and a coffee-cup-and-donut body, wearing a garrison cap, with Dunkin' emblazoned on both the coffee cup and cap. The design was rendered primarily in yellow and brown. According to the Trademark Office TESS data base, the logo was first applied for on June 23, 1958, and was registered on May 23, 1961, and put into use on July 1, 1964.[27]

In 1961, the company began using a hot pink color for its branding, and used a logo showing a stylized coffee cup with the company's name rendered on one line as a circle, evoking a donut's toroidal shape "dunking" into the cup.

In 1980, bright orange was added to the hot pink of the company's branding. As of 2014, the current logo is a variation of the logo that has been in use since about 1980: an all-capitals rendering of the words Dunkin' Donuts (Dunkin' in orange; Donuts in pink) in a thick, Frankfurter typeface with, on the left sitting on top of a hot pink and orange rectangle, a coffee cup outlined in brown with a "DD" monogram.[28]


Dunkin' Donuts's current slogan is "America Runs On Dunkin'" since March 2006. In March 2009, the company unveiled an alternate slogan, "You 'Kin Do It!", and launched a more than $100 million ad campaign promotion.[29] The campaign, which was to run through 2009, included radio, print and outdoor advertising, in addition to in-store point-of-purchase, special events, and sports marketing.[30]

The original Dunkin' Donuts slogan was Sounds Good, Tastes Even Better.

Past slogans:



Dunkin' Donuts truck

In early 2007, Dunkin' Donuts had b Score! that featured tear-off game pieces on its coffee cups.

Easy Bake Oven, a product of Hasbro, created product recipes based on Dunkin' Donuts products.[40]

In 2008, as a response to Starbucks closing its stores for three hours on February 26, Dunkin' Donuts locations offered a 99 cent latte, cappuccino, and espresso promotion from 1–10 pm.[41]

In 2009 and 2010, there was a campaign for people to "Create Dunkin's Next Donut". In 2009, Jeff Hager of Hoover, Alabama was selected for his glazed sour cream cake donut, topped with chopped Heath Bar, titled "Toffee For Your Coffee". The 2010 winner was Rachel Davis of Sharon, Massachusetts, selected for “Monkey See Monkey Donut”, a banana-filled donut with chocolate icing, topped with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups shavings. Each won $12,000 and their donuts had a limited time offering at selected Dunkin’ Donuts locations.[42]

In 2010, Dunkin' Donuts launched a campaign called "Caught Cold" starring NBA All-Star spokesman Ray Allen, which awarded game tickets to Boston Celtics fans "caught" in public drinking Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee.[43]

In April 2011, Dunkin' Donuts launched a new donut and special cake in honor of the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in England on April 29, 2011.[44]

Dunkin' Donuts released a Cronut-inspired croissant donut in 2014.

In July 2012, Dunkin' Donuts produced a new donut and a new Coolatta to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the Oreo cookie. It has added an Oreo cream filled donut and a vanilla and coffee coolatta with Oreo in it as part of the promotion.[45]

In August 2013, Long Island Dunkin' Donuts restaurants launched T-shirts to help rebuild the community from Hurricane Sandy that occurred in October 2012. The shirts contain the phrase "REBUILDD Long Island", and portions of the proceeds are donated to Long Island Cares Inc. The campaign was important to Long Island locations and regional food banks. These locations have shown their support by helping the Long Island community days after the storm and has continued their efforts through the "REBUILDD Long Island" T-shirts.[46]

In January 2014, Dunkin' Donuts launched a nationwide rewards program called DDPerks which offers guests nationwide points toward free Dunkin' Donuts beverages for every visit they make at participating Dunkin' Donuts locations. By early February, the DD Perks program was to be fully integrated into the Dunkin' Mobile App for mobile payment.[47]

Dunkin' Donuts also holds guest satisfaction surveys for their customers to share feedback and suggestions based on their shopping experience. Upon completion of these online questionnaires, customers receive a validation code to redeem next time they shop at any of the Dunkin' Donuts stores. Typically, they get a free donut with the purchase of a medium-sized drink.[48][49]


Dunkin' Donuts has a close relationship with the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots, making commercials at the start of each team's season for promotions. Dunkin’ Donuts also sponsors other professional sports teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees, New York Mets, and Tampa Bay Rays. In January 2014, English football club Liverpool announced a multimillion-pound global partnership with the company.[50] Dunkin' Donuts signed a sponsorship deal with the National Women's Hockey League in December 2015. As part of the multi-year agreement, Dunkin’ Donuts is the official hot, iced and frozen coffee of the NWHL.[51] In 2001, Dunkin' Donuts purchased the naming rights for the former Providence Civic Center, and renamed it the Dunkin' Donuts Center. The center is currently the home court for the NCAA and BigEast Providence Friars men's basketball team from Providence College as well as home ice for the AHL Providence Bruins hockey team. In reference to the Center's long association with local college basketball, it is often known locally as "The Dunk". In 2015, Dunkin' Donuts was announced as the named sponsor of the baseball park in Hartford, Connecticut, new home of the Hartford Yard Goats baseball team. It will be named Dunkin' Donuts Park.

Controversy and criticism

In 1997, Dunkindonuts.org was founded by a customer for disgruntled consumers and employees to lodge complaints about the company. The site appeared before the company's own website in many search engines, and received national media coverage before being purchased by Dunkin' Donuts in 1999.[52]

Dunkin' Donuts has been criticized by some of its franchisees for allegedly coercing them out of business at large financial losses. Dunkin' Donuts has sued franchise owners 154 times since 2006. Over the same stretch of time, McDonald's was involved in five lawsuits. Subway, a company that has four times the number of locations as Dunkin' Donuts, sued its franchisees 12 times. However, these figures do not include arbitrations, which Subway, McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts use in bringing legal claims against their franchisees. Franchisees allege that the company's larger business strategy requires multi-unit franchisees who have ample capital and can open numerous stores rapidly to compete with Starbucks.[53]

In 2009, the company temporarily stopped the sale of two of its products, the Dunkaccino and hot chocolate, after concern of a possible salmonella poisoning at a supplier's facilities. Dunkin' Donuts claims that none of the beverages were contaminated, but the recall was made out of safety for its consumers.[54]

In 2009, the Kainos Partners Holding Co., which owned and operated 56 Dunkin' Donuts, filed for bankruptcy. The company claimed to owe an amount between $10 and $50 million. Bart Thorne said that one of the primary causes for bankruptcy was the economic recession that was occurring at the time.[55]

In May 2010, Dunkin' Donuts was criticized for advertising "Free Iced Coffee Day" on its national Facebook page, which only took place in 13 cities.[56] Because of the limited scope of the promotion, many customers became dissatisfied with the lack of free iced coffee and vented their anger on the Dunkin' Donuts Facebook page.[57]

In 2013, the Dunkin' Donuts chain in Thailand used an advertisement that contained a photograph of a woman in black face-paint, in order to promote its new chocolate flavored donuts. The company was criticized for the advertisement, with the Human Rights Watch calling the advertisement “bizarre and racist”. The headquarters in the United States apologized for the advertisement.[58]

Nancy Lewis, in Canaan, Connecticut, began a petition in January 2014 to request that Dunkin' Donuts donate their unsold food to local shelters and food banks in her area after seeing her local shop regularly throwing away "large amounts" of unsold food. She said because the company has no universal directive on the redistribution of its unsold food items to shelters or food banks, and employees are not allowed to take any home,[59] many affiliates throw all of the goods away.[60]

In 2016, consumer class action attorneys Zachary J. Liszka and Carl J. Mayer filed class actions in New York[61] and New Jersey[62] against Dunkin' Donuts and their franchisees on behalf of a class of plaintiffs alleging that the company and its franchisees were unlawfully surcharging customers in the guise of a sales tax on certain items.


  Current locations
  Military bases only
  Planned future locations
  Former locations

Dunkin' Donuts is a subsidiary of Dunkin' Brands, a franchiser of quick service restaurants serving hot and cold coffee and baked goods. Dunkin' Donuts' headquarters is located at 130 Royall St., Canton, Massachusetts, which also houses the headquarters for sister brand Baskin-Robbins.

As of December 28, 2013, there were 10,858 Dunkin' Donuts retail locations, including 7,677 in the United States and 3,181 in other countries.[63] This figure compares with the 17,009 stores of coffee chain Starbucks. Nearly all of Dunkin' Donuts locations are franchisee owned and operated.[64] Within its Northeast home base, Dunkin' Donuts is very popular, and particularly dominant within the six New England states. In addition to its stand-alone shops, Dunkin' Donuts shops can be found within many gas stations, supermarkets, mall and airport food courts, and Walmart stores. Dunkin' Donuts is continuing to grow by adding more locations around the U.S., including the regions where it has been long established. In July 2013, Dunkin' Donuts opened its 500th restaurant in New York City. This location is combined with a Baskin-Robbins restaurant.[65] While the greatest number of shops are located in the Northeastern United States, Dunkin' Donuts has since slowly expanded across to the west coast, with more shops planned for the next few years. In the U.S., there are at least 82 franchisees west of the Mississippi River, mostly in central Iowa, which is expected to have approximately 20 new locations over the next 6 years.[66][67][68][69][70] Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas are all expected to see new locations over the next several years as well.

Many Dunkin' Donuts shops have begun appearing in California. Traditionally, California has been the stronghold of sister brand Baskin-Robbins, which was originally founded in Glendale. Dunkin' Donuts signed agreements to open 18 shops in Orange County, California, along with eight more shops planned for the North Inland Empire, including the first location in that region that opened in Upland in early 2015.[71] By December 2015, more than 20 California shops were opened: including locations in Barstow (at Barstow Station), Downey, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Long Beach, Modesto, Ramona, San Diego (at Embassy Suites), Santa Monica, Upland, and Whittier; along with a shop on the Camp Pendleton military base and a location inside the LAX Airport. The San Diego Embassy Suites shop, shared with Baskin-Robbins, was the company's first co-branded location in California when it opened in March 2014, while the Santa Monica shop was the first to open in the Los Angeles area in September 2014. Going forward from 2015, the company expects to begin opening what could eventually total more than 1,000 shops in California.[72][73] In 2016, Dunkin' Donuts shops have opened in the San Francisco Bay Area in Walnut Creek and Half Moon Bay.[74]

In the past decade, Dunkin' Donuts has opened many locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix, and Las Vegas metropolitan areas. In 2013, Dunkin' Donuts opened their first eight locations in the Salt Lake City area, bringing the brand to Utah for the first time ever. Shop locations also opened in the Denver and Omaha regions. 2014 saw the return of Dunkin' Donuts to the state of Minnesota after nearly a decade's absence, with a new shop opened inside the Kahler Grand Hotel in Rochester.[75]

In the United States, Dunkin' Donuts is sometimes paired with Baskin-Robbins ice cream in a single multibranded store. While such locations usually maintain separate counters for each chain (much like co-branded Wendy's–Tim Hortons locations in Canada), depending on business that day, both chains' products can be bought at a single counter (usually Dunkin' Donuts'). The practice of single-counter service is similar to that of multibranded Yum! Brands stores such as KFCTaco Bell, which share a single kitchen and cashier line.[76]

By March 2014, Dunkin' Donuts' largest international market was South Korea, representing nearly 40 percent of all international sales. With over 900 outlets in the country, it had three times as many as McDonald's, and about a third more than Starbucks. South Korea is home to Dunkin Donuts's only coffee roasting plant outside the U.S. Still, the company sees China and its vastly larger population as the more lucrative opportunity. In 2008, Dunkin' Donuts opened its first restaurant in Shanghai, representing the first step in its China expansion strategy. By March 2014, it had about 50 stores in the country and an agreement to open 100 more over the next five years.[77][78]

In Brazil, Dunkin' Donuts opened its first building in 1980.[79] In 2013, it planned to open 25 franchises in the country.[80]

One of the last remaining Dunkin' Donuts locations in Canada at Montreal's Place Ville-Marie

In Colombia, Dunkin' Donuts opened its first store in Bogota in 1983. By 2015, DD operated more than 100 stores only in the capital city of the country.[81] Currently it operates more than 150 stores around the country including locations in the cities of Medellin, Cali, Ibague, Pereira, Manizales and Barranquilla.[82]

In January 2014, Dunkin' Donuts relaunched in the UK 20 years after it exited the country with its first store opening in Harrow, London.[83]

In December 5, 2014, Dunkin' Donuts opened their first location in the Nordic region, at the Täby Centrum shopping mall in the outskirts of Stockholm, Sweden.[84][85][86] On April 1, 2015, the first store in Denmark opened on Copenhagen Central Station and by May 5, 2015 one opened at Roskilde station. There is still one in construction in Odense.[87]

In early December 2015, Dunkin' Donuts opened their first cafe in 13 years in Warsaw, Poland. The opening of a second location in Warsaw is announced for January 2016.

On January 21, 2016, Dunkin' Brands announced a master franchise agreement with Grand Parade Investments Ltd. that calls for developing 250 Dunkin' Donuts and 70 Baskin-Robbins outlets throughout South Africa.[88]

Western U.S. expansion

On January 16, 2013, Nigel Travis, Dunkin' Donuts' CEO, announced that the Dunkin' Donuts franchises will be available in California beginning in 2015.[89] In July 2013, Dunkin’ Donuts announced that it has signed its first Southern California multi-unit store development agreements with four franchise groups for a total commitment of 45 new restaurants. The first standalone restaurants were expected to open in 2015 in Orange and Los Angeles counties.[73] The chain also planned to expand into more stores in Texas by 2015.[90] On March 10, 2014, the first Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin-Robbins combination store in Southern California opened in Ramona, CA.[91] This is Dunkin' Donuts's third California shop to open, following shops in Barstow and on Camp Pendleton. Since March 2014, Dunkin' Donuts has opened several additional locations throughout California, including the Los Angeles area. Dunkin' Donuts shops opened in the San Francisco Bay Area in Walnut Creek and Half Moon Bay in 2016.[92]

Dunkin' Coffee in Spain

In Spain, the term "Donuts" was already trademarked by one of Spain's largest bakery firms, Panrico,[93] so the company was born as a joint venture between Dunkin' Donuts' then-parent Allied Domecq and Panrico (only Spanish shareholders, representing 50%) in order to use the brand name "Dunkin' Donuts". In 2007, after Dunkin' Donuts bought out Panrico's 50% share, the stores were rebranded to "Dunkin' Coffee".[94] Dunkin' Coffee stores are found in cities all over Spain. Their slogan, "Juntos es mejor", translates to "Together is better". As of right now there are only 60 locations throughout Spain, most of which residing in Barcelona and Madrid.

Canadian decline

In Canada, Dunkin' Donuts and its market share have all but vanished. In the late 1990s to early 2000s, the chain began disappearing from all regions of Canada, with its last foothold in the province of Quebec. However its decline is most apparent in Quebec, where the chain once had 210 stores but by mid-2014 had only 4—the last franchisees in the country.[95] Only one Canadian store has the facilities to make donuts fresh on site; the others are merely shopping-mall food-court stands, dependent on the delivery of baked goods. One of the main reasons for Dunkin' Donuts's decline was competition with Tim Hortons, similar to Tim Hortons' own decline in the northeastern United States due to heavy competition from Dunkin' Donuts. A group of Dunkin' Donuts franchisees won a C$16.4 million civil court judgement against the parent company for failing to adequately promote the brand in Canada. Its subsidiary, Baskin Robbins, has stores across Canada.[96]

Japanese decline

In 1970, Japan became the first Asian country to open Dunkin' Donuts stores. The Japanese chain was owned by a joint venture between the Saison Group, Yoshinoya, and the Japanese subsidiary of the Compass Group named Seiyo Food Systems. After 28 years of operating in Japan, Dunkin' Donuts ceased business there in 1998 due to declining sales and poor performance. All of the non-military base locations were either closed or converted to Mister Donut locations. Dunkin' Donuts still has locations in United States military bases, which are open only to military personnel.




Notable endorsers

See also


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