Dunkin’ Donuts is being updated, and not just the logo. In an effort to keep up with the competition and respond to customer preferences, Dunkin’ is changing a lot about how it does breakfast. Recently, the company cut the ribbon on a concept store that represents the future of what Dunkin’ could be.
That store includes digital kiosks, as well as more Grab & Go options and the opportunity for online ordering customers to cut the line at the drive-thru. More innovations included beverages on tap, so customers don’t have to wait.
Then there are the branding changes. These include new slogans such as “Drink Coffee. Be Awesome” or “Fueled by Positive Energy.” But, by far, the biggest branding change is the removal of the word “Donuts” from all signage and branding. This is an idea the company has been kicking around for the better part of a year, and now they will look to see how consumers respond to the change.
There’s no doubt people are starting to see Dunkin’ as more than the local donut chain. For years now, the company has been selling breakfast sandwiches, various drinks and other options that have nothing to do with donuts or the ever-popular Munchkins. Now, they will see if their brand is strong enough to pull their biggest seller off the sign.
In a statement released to the media, Dave Hoffmann, president of Dunkin’ Donuts North America, said: “The launch of our next generation concept store marks one of the most important moments in Dunkin’ Donuts’ growth as an on-the-go, beverage-led brand…”
‘Beverage-led’ is a euphemism for taking on Starbucks head-to-head. There’s no doubt the company has a better profit margin selling drinks than selling pastries, so the move to a more beverage-centered marketing and branding program makes sense.
The move also takes into account shifting consumer expectations: more tech-based convenience and less waiting in line. One of the most important innovations along those lines is the updates to the Dunkin’ smartphone app. The hope is that the app interface will reduce wait times and increase convenience. Dunkin’ says it learned a lot from Starbucks’ frustrating roll out of its app ordering system, which led to longer lines and more consumer frustration. Starbucks eventually fixed those glitches, and their work benefitted Dunkin’s efforts.
What will consumers think about all these updates, branding changes and new features and menu items? The tale of the register tape will tell.
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States