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Dunkin' Donuts Sheds Part of Their Name

Dunkin’ Donuts has been an icon for ages. In fact, donuts were the crux of its business from the beginning of time, but times are changing. Today, the larger portion of sales revolves around its coffee and beverages. They’re also introducing more options such as breakfast sandwiches and other grab and go options.

So, what goes into a massive rebrand when you’ve had one well-known name for over 60 years? Why walk away from the recognition factor of an iconic name? The original store opened in 1948 with the first franchise setting up shop a few years later in 1955. It looks like changing names was a familiar thing to do, as the original store didn’t take the Dunkin’ Donuts moniker until 1950. Prior to that the shop was called Open Kettle.

Quick facts:

  • Opened in 1948, first name change was in 1950

  • First franchise opens in 1955

  • Today, there are over 15,000 locations in more than 40 countries

With well over 15,000 establishments, a name change wasn’t a small undertaking. With ideas in place, the rebrand took effect in January of 2019 which included all new packaging as well as the business name.

The entire process was focused on bringing the company forward and putting less emphasis on their donuts, as coffee and drinks are now their biggest sellers. Their tag line should have clued us in earlier — America Runs on Dunkin’ —as it seems a natural fit.

As for their logo and colors, they chose to stick with their famous pink and orange as its familiarity made sense. They originally brought that color combination about in 1973, though they’ve also fattened the font they’re using on packaging, adding a fuller, rounder choice.

According to David Hoffman (U.S. President and CEO) it was to “…modernize the Dunkin’ experience for our customers. From our next generation restaurants, to our menu innovation, on-the-go ordering and value offerings...”

Image credit: Courtesy of Dunkin'

They are looking to:

  • Modernize the brand’s look and feel

  • Draw and accommodate the next generation by using consumer friendly apps

  • Focus on being the leader in premium coffees and iced beverages

  • Introduce new unique, on-the-go options

Let’s face it, old-timers are no longer their focus. They want a fresh feel for the up-and-comers, who will continue to grow their bottom line. By freshening up their appeal, embracing the strength of their beverage-led offerings, Dunkin’ is sitting pretty and ready to move forward.

According to industry leader magazine QSR which discusses all things limited serve/quick serve restaurants, when word got out that Dunkin’ was changing their name in 2018 their buzz went up. People were talking. “Since the official announcement, Dunkin’s “Buzz” score climbed from 12 to 21 among the general public…”

With the pandemic, they were well leveraged with having a drive-thru service and quick grab options, though many stores closed. Now that most are opening back up, sales are ticking back, with their heaviest time between the hours of 11-2.

Dunkin’ is pleased with the change, and is ready to boldly go forward and embrace a modern feel for the next generation.


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