A strong cup of coffee and a delicious donut or two may well be the most iconic on-the-go breakfast, and Dunkin Donuts has been serving it for nearly 70 years. As beloved as their breakfast fare may be, Dunkin Donuts also has a legacy for changing the structure of fast food chains, and its ability to adapt has kept it competitive in an evolving market.
Baked Goods on The Go
There’s a reason bakeries have been a part of human culture for centuries—there’s something satisfying and comforting about a fresh baked good, like a donut; Dunkin Donuts saw a need for these items in a fast, dedicated setting and filled it. Their mission is to serve the wants and needs of the customer, remaining loyal to the people who have made them a success.
Today, Dunkin Donuts has more than 11,000 locations across the globe, serving 36 countries. Perhaps even more indicative of the company’s continued success is the fact that they serve more than 3 million customers every single day.
Forming to Fill a Need
In the 1940s, William Rosenberg created a mobile catering service to provide lunches to different locations. He noticed that a large portion of his revenue was coming from only coffee and donuts, and he realized that there was a void in the market for a business that provided these items exclusively.
In an attempt to fill this void, Rosenberg created Dunkin Donuts in 1950, and he soon set his sights on franchising. At the time, franchising was viewed as bad business, but Rosenberg created a system that allowed everyone to benefit from the American dream.
Since then, Dunkin has grown to epic proportions. The early 21st century saw a strategy shift for the company, where they began focusing more on coffee and less on donuts, though the food menu continued to expand into sandwiches and other breakfast items as well. The shift to coffee proved incredibly lucrative for Dunkin Donuts, and they’re now a major chain in both the fast food and coffee spaces.
Stifled by Starbucks
Dunkin Donuts is in direct competition with both Starbucks and McDonalds, but in slightly different ways. Although Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks have more similar offerings in that they provide coffee with a limited food menu, McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts are geared toward more middle class clientele, whereas Starbucks is often viewed as more elite.
In both cases, Dunkin Donuts trails significantly behind its competition. Still, the company remains optimistic that through a different market, the grocery store coffee industry, they will be able to make up ground and come out on top.
Dunkin Donuts is extremely well known for their tag “America Runs on Dunkin.” A number of very well received commercials all feature this tag, which is meant to convey that Dunkin Donuts coffee is a brand geared toward everyday, average citizens.
The danger of a corporate structure that relies upon franchisees to uphold the brand’s character is that sometimes individual owners have different ideas. A number of Dunkin Donuts locations have come under fire for various instances of alleged racism or xenophobia.
Although these situations are based upon individual locations, they still reflect upon Dunkin Donuts as a brand. The company responded by confirming that these instances have been resolved, and consumers appear largely unfazed as Dunkin Donuts continues to grow internationally, ranking 8th on the Forbes list of top global fast food chains.
Dunkin Donuts was founded because of a consumer need, and they have exhibited time and time again that they are committed to reorganizing their priorities to continue filling the needs of their customers.