For years, Dunkin’ Donuts has been expanding its presence across the United States, akin to Starbucks, as a coffee shop and bakery offering locals a convenient spot to satisfy their caffeine cravings on every street corner. In New England, Dunkin’ Donuts outlets are nearly ubiquitous, with multiple locations often within close proximity.
However, Dunkin’ recently unveiled plans to close down 450 establishments located within Speedway stores along the east coast. This means that individuals accustomed to grabbing donuts or coffee while refueling their vehicles might have to make do with lower-quality gas station coffee and prepackaged donuts instead of Dunkin’s signature offerings.
The Dunkin’ branches situated within gas stations have contributed only minimally to the company’s revenue, accounting for “less than 0.5 percent of Dunkin’s domestic sales in 2019,” according to Scott Murphy, the president of Dunkin’ Americas. In light of this, Kate Japson, the chief financial officer, made the strategic decision to shut down these locations and redirect the resources into more profitable outlets.
Japson stated, “By discontinuing these sites, with minimal financial repercussions, we anticipate positioning ourselves better to serve these trade areas in the future with new Dunkin’ NextGen restaurants that offer an expanded menu.”
She further explained, “We will be closing 450 limited-menu Dunkin’ Speedway owned and operated locations throughout 2020, as part of a termination agreement with Speedway. These limited-menu sites represent lower volume units, collectively making up less than 0.5 percent of Dunkin’s U.S. annual systemwide sales.”
Presently, Dunkin’ operates a total of 9,600 locations across its chain, providing ample opportunities for customers to enjoy their coffee and refuel their vehicles.
However, the decision to close down these outlets might pose challenges for Dunkin’ amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As store closures and economic uncertainties impact consumer behavior, individuals are scaling back on non-essential expenses like coffee, which is often considered a luxury item, and instead opting to purchase their morning brew from grocery stores.
Despite this, Dunkin’ Brands’ CEO, Dave Hoffman, highlighted the company’s commitment to enhancing customer experiences through various avenues such as drive-thru locations, mobile ordering, and delivery partnerships with platforms like GrubHub.
Given the shifting landscape brought about by the virus, where people have fewer opportunities to venture outside their homes, Dunkin’ aims to remain a source of comfort for individuals in their times of need.
Hoffman emphasized, “For over 70 years, Dunkin’ has been an integral part of the communities we serve, keeping America running and taking care of our guests. Amidst the uncertainty, we’re continuing to be there for people by taking additional measures to offer comfort during these challenging times.”