Dunkin’ is dropping the donuts – from its name, anyway. Doughnuts are still on the menu, but Dunkin’ Donuts is renaming itself Dunkin’ to reflect its rising emphasis on coffee and other drinks, that make up 60 percent of the sales.
The 68-year-old chain has toyed with the idea for a while. In 2006, it released a whole new motto – “America runs on Dunkin’ – that didn’t mention doughnuts. Last fall, it tested the “Dunkin’” logo over a new store in Pasadena, Calif.; it provides position the name on the few other stores since then.
“Our new branding is actually a clear signal that there’s new things at www.storeholidayhours.org/dunkin-donuts-menu-prices. It speaks to the breadth of our own offerings,” said David Hoffman, the CEO Dunkin’ Brands, the chain’s parent company, in a conference call with media.
The name change will officially occur in January, when it begins appearing on napkins, boxes and signs at new and remodeled U.S. stores. The change will gradually be adopted as franchisees update their stores. It will likely be phased in overseas over the the coming year, the company said. Dunkin’ Donuts has 12,500 restaurants worldwide.
The newest logo will continue to have Dunkin’ Donuts’ familiar rounded font and orange-and-pink color scheme, which the company has used since 1973. The Canton, Mass.-based company isn’t saying just how much the modification will surely cost.
Dunkin’ Donuts has always sold coffee, but hot breakfast sandwiches and specialty drinks like the fruity Coolatta and Cold Brew iced coffee are becoming increasingly important to the chain. In the second quarter of this year, the organization noted that overall U.S. store traffic was down, but revenue was up because of sales of higher-margin iced coffee drinks and breakfast sandwiches.
Dunkin’ says the name change is among numerous things it’s doing to stay related to younger customers. It’s also simplifying its menu and adding dedicated mobile ordering lanes. But changing the name of iconic brands can be a big mistake, says Laura Ries, an Atlanta-based marketing consultant.
Ries says “Dunkin’” eventually won’t mean anything to younger customers who haven’t grown up using the complete name. Specific words are easier for people to consider and conjure emotional connections, she said. Having “Donuts” within the name can also be easier for individuals in overseas markets who may well not really know what “Dunkin’” means.
Messing with iconic brands may also have consequences. In 2016, fifteen years after replacing Kentucky Fried Chicken with KFC, the business were required to issue a press release to combat an internet rumor which it was required to change its name because it doesn’t serve real chicken. And IHOP faced some backlash earlier over the summer when it announced it was changing its name to IHOb to remind customers that it serves burgers in addition to pancakes. That one had been a publicity stunt, but it annoyed some customers.
Dunkin’ Donuts’ Chief Marketing Officer Tony Weisman said the company did plenty of testing and doesn’t expect any customer backlash from your decision. “The reaction has become overwhelmingly positive,” Weisman said. “It’s just going to feel very familiar to individuals.” But Reis said even if doughnuts have fallen away from favor among a more health-conscious subscriber base, people already know Dunkin’ Donuts as being a place where they could just get coffee and like the doughnuts’ smell.
“There’s nothing wrong with still having ‘Donuts’ in your name,” she said. “Long term it absolutely was helping them, giving them a brandname identity that was the contrary of Starbucks.”
Starbucks representatives were unavailable for comment Wednesday. Increasing against Starbucks, whose business was modeled following the espresso shops of Italy, can be quite a big challenge for Dunkin’, which always has become known more for the smooth coffees than a bold drink like espresso.
Dunkin’ continues to be remodeling its stores with cold-brew taps and drive-through lanes for mobile orders. Like Starbucks, the chain has struggled to attract new customers. Dunkin’s U.S. same-store sales grew 1.4% within the second quarter, as a rise in average check offset a decline in traffic. The company is scheduled to report third-quarter results on Thursday.
Dunkin’ has lagged behind in espresso sales as the category took over as the fastest-growing sort of coffee in cafes recently. McDonald’s Corp. features a collection of low-price espresso drinks, too. The new espresso beverages bdcovh be served at Dunkin’s greater than 9,200 U.S. stores in bright orange cups to tell apart them using their company Dunkin’ drinks in white or clear cups.
The organization is investing $100 million in the U.S. over the following year, over half from it in restaurant technology, like the espresso machines. Franchisees have committed much more money for the upgrades. Dunkin’ wouldn’t say just how much franchisees are contributing or how much the newest machines cost. Company executives chose the Swiss-made machine that might be the newest standard, following trips to Europe and repeated tests to have the extraction from its coffee beans just right.
“The new equipment in some ways is faster than the old equipment,” said Scott Murphy, chief operating officer of Dunkin’ U.S. Parag Patel, a franchisee who owns 25 Dunkin’ shops in Baltimore and five in California, spent months teaching his employees the best way to hand-pull espresso shots, steam milk and blend the different drinks with different flavors. He explained they may be already drawing in new business in Baltimore.