Dunkin‘ Donuts‘ plans for sweet success


The UK is in for a sugary sweet time with the return of American brand Dunkin‘ Donuts after a 20 year hiatus.

Doughnut lovers may remember the company two decades ago before it was forced to abandon the UK, and other countries, when losses were outweighing the profits. Now ready to start fresh, the brand is on track for huge international expansion.

Dunkin‘ Donuts and ice-cream store chain Baskin-Robbins, are owned by the restaurant franchisor Dunkin‘ Brands Inc. Stores are opened through franchise partners and doughnuts, coffee, sandwiches and ice cream are sold in 60 countries worldwide.

Late last year, Dunkin‘ Donuts re-launched in Harrow before opening a further six shops this year. On Saturday, a new store at St Albans welcomed customers to try the “combi” offering of both its Baskin-Robbins ice cream and Dunkin‘ Donuts range – the first store of its kind in the country.

Talks are now in place with WH Smith and Welcome Break to open further outlets and ease the brand back into the hearts and stomachs of consumers.

Speaking of the comeback, Nigel Travis, Chairman and chief executive of Dunkin‘ Donuts, said: “The trick to expansion for a new brand is airports, train stations and motorways – high footfall areas to give us brand presence.”

The global doughnut and coffee chain will rival larger eateries like Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, who are well known for their doughnut theatre and original glazed goodnesss as well as coffee chain Starbucks and sandwich retailer Subway.

Does the world need more doughnut shops? Time will tell; although in an analysis titled ‘The Doughnut Paradox: Indulgence Positioning in a World Obsessed With Health and Wellness‘ written earlier this year, Laura Friend, Foodservice Analyst at Euromonitor, said “indulgence positioning has always had a place—and a very lucrative one. Doughnut chains have been thriving across Southeast Asia for years.”

“We are going back to many of the places that we departed but we don‘t want to expand too quickly this time around” Travis has said. “This is our second attempt at the UK. We failed the first time because we focused on central London where rents were just too high. This time we are starting out on the outskirts of London.”

By tailoring its products for different markets (for example creating a shredded pork and seaweed doughnut for the Chinese customer and a lentil cocoa one for the Indian), Dunkin‘ Donuts stands a good chance at doing well with the right estate planning.

There are hopes to see 144 new Dunkin‘ Donuts stores eventually open in the UK and in addition, Travis is hopeful that several hundred new stores will pop up in Germany, Sweden and Austria.