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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Is the Dunkin' Donuts brand back?

Long time since my last post. Busy workload. Let's catch up. Comments welcomed on the following:

9:35 Saturday morning. Quick stop at the local (new) Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins (combo store). Crap. No parking spots. Seven cars in the drive-thru. People everywhere, mostly buying wake-up beverages. I'm not angry. Actually, I'm impressed.

Dunkin' Donuts has not been shy about its desire to wrestle the coffee business back from Starbucks. Dunkin' Donuts used to be the king of coffee. Not anymore. But stay tuned. DD’s coffee is good. And inexpensive. (They wouldn't take my Starbucks Card, BTW.)

DD's new tag line is "America runs on Dunkin." At first glance, the line appears to be nothing special. But, look closer and you can appreciate the fact that Dunkin' Donuts wants to reclaim its turf. And that turf is America. All of it. It's reminding consumers that DD has played a major role in the caffeinating of America. It's a warning shot fired above the heads of Starbucks, McDonald's and other coffee purveyors.

The new stores are bright. Fun. Clean. And they're offering many of the same sophisticated coffee-based drinks as the upscalers. Yes, this is only one store. And Starbucks offers a different atmosphere. But I was stunned by the high level of activity. And coffee-to-go doesn't require an atmosphere. Maybe this is another success story of a dated brand being brought back to life. IHOP is another example.

I love Starbucks. But it's nice to have a less-expensive alternative. DD appears to be OK.


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