No time for donuts


Word on the street is that the days of Dunkin’ Donuts are over.

Ok… hold on… nothing is really changing. Dunkin’ Donuts is still there. Dunkin’ Donuts still exists as a national (and international) chain. Only it doesn’t. Because soon Dunkin’ Donuts will be remodeling the stores, which includes a remodeling of the name. Get ready for Dunkin’.

The changes have actually been progressing along for quite some time. Officially, the first Dunkin’ was spotted in Massachusetts, where a shop in Quincy took on the new branding in 2017. But honestly, it goes back further than that. Back about a decade, when the global takeover began, and “American runs on Dunkin’” reached can’t-escape-branding levels.

Here’s why it’s kind of funny to me… the more the company expands and expands and expands… the less I find myself heading to their doors.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Dunkin’ Donuts. If you like their coffee… and there are plenty that LOVE their coffee… it is still hot and delicious (or, more accurately for some, iced and delicious). They are basically everywhere, which makes the convenience hard to miss. Dunkin’ Donuts is just fine.

But that’s exactly the point. Dunkin’ Donuts, in my opinion, is fine. Just fine. And for me, as they become even bigger, a lot is being lost in the transition. (And not just the coconut jelly sticks, which are virtually impossible to locate.)

I grew up in Rhode Island. For those unaware of the history, that’s prime Dunkin’ Donuts territory. And back then, if you wanted donuts, this was the place to go.

Sure, there were other places to consider… Mister Donut and Bess Eaton come to mind… but Dunkin’ Donuts was the leader in the region. It was an event to pick up a dozen… usually for breakfast, but quite often as a special treat for company.

Over the past twenty years or so, that part of the story has changed.

Personally, I found places that were offering a vastly superior line of donuts for purchase. One location was an outstanding family bakery in Connecticut that served ridiculously delicious donuts. (Key word though… family… and the family decided to get out of the business and retire.)

More to the point though, most bakeries aren’t quite the same establishments as they were when I was a kid, and a place like Dunkin’ Donuts isn’t quite as exclusive in their specialization in donuts. This brings up two points…

First – Want a good donut? Chances aren’t simply good… chances are very good that the bakery section of your local grocery store offers donuts that seem fresher and taste better than anything offered at Dunkin’ Donuts. (Sorry. Just my opinion. But I am not alone.)

Second – Care to figure out where Dunkin’s Donuts makes its money? Or, more accurately, it probably wouldn’t surprise you at all to find out that coffee leads the way at Dunkin’ Donuts. This is no longer a donut-selling company. It’s a coffee shop that happens to also serve donuts. Most estimates say that Dunkin’ Donuts comfortably exceeds sales of one and a half billion cups of coffee each year. (Some company statements have begun placing the number as just shy of two billion cups. A few sources list sales at 30 cups of coffee sold every second. That is not a bakery… not a donut shop.)

Put these together, and I think the result is interesting (and goes something like this)…

Number one – If you want a donut, chances are that you will go to several places before heading to Dunkin’ Donuts.

Number two – If a person wants a cup of coffee, a huge number will look first to head to Dunkin’ Donuts.

Apparently, the dropping of the Donuts part of the name isn’t a crazy move. And, honestly, it’s not that crazy. But it does confirm the transition is complete.

More power to them. I’ll be stopping in from time to time in the future. I’ll be purchasing some donuts, breakfast sandwiches and coffee at their stores. But mainly because it’s there. It’s everywhere.

At least for me, the shiny special event status of Dunkin’ Donuts has dimmed quite a bit since the days of my youth. I stop in for convenience. When it comes to a donut I crave… and, for the donuts, when it comes to cost as well because they’re awfully pricey for not at all amazing… there are other places worthy of note.


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