Dunkin’ Donuts is one of America’s most iconic food chains. In fact, the chain is responsible for popularizing the use of the word donut instead of doughnut, which is the preferred spelling outside of the U.S. The company boasts serving more than 3 million customers every day, making it a leader in the world of baked goods and coffee.
How does a company that was founded in 1950 still manage to stay ahead in an industry that has given birth to the coveted croissant and donut hybrid? What is Dunkin’ Donuts’ secret to success in a world of artisanal donuts shaped like pandas?
The key to staying on top is adaptability and a willingness to change with the times. Dunkin’ Donuts has continued to innovate by offering a wider variety of specialty donuts, savory baked goods, and premium coffee.
Here are 10 reasons why “America (still) runs on Dunkin’.”
1. They might not be shaped like pandas, but Dunkin’s specialty donuts have gotten their own artisanal makeover.
The donut has always been one of America’s favorite treats and for the most part, its popularity has never waned. However, in recent years, the humble donut has gone through a Renaissance and artisanal versions are being offered all across the country. These fancier donuts are being topped with anything from bacon to favorite childhood cereals.
Dunkin’ Donuts has joined the artisanal donut movement and now offers over 52 varieties of donuts. Many of these donuts are filled and topped with higher end ingredients like guava and Oreo cookie crumbs. The donuts featured above are their Oreo Cheesecake, Strawberry Shortcake Croissant Donut, and the Raspberry Cheesecake Square.
2. Dunkin’ Donuts keeps on top of the latest social media trends by partnering with Snapchat.
Snapchat is the hot new social media app popular amongst the younger generation. The app, which gives users the ability to apply fun filters to their pictures, often partners with companies to offer exclusive geofilters. These geofilters can only be accessed when a user is near a specific location.
Dunkin’ Donuts has joined the Snapchat ecosystem by offering up their own exclusive geofilters.
3. They’ve made the once elusive Croissant Donut available to the masses.
The much sought after croissant donut rose to fame in May of 2013. At the time, the hybrid pastry was only offered in New York by its inventor Dominque Ansel. The delicious combination of the airy softness of the donut and the crispy flakiness of the croissant quickly took the food world by storm and everyone was clamoring for a taste.
With the availability of the croissant donut confined to one shop in New York, many bakeries started offering their own version of the treat. Dunkin’ Donuts stepped up to the plate and made the croissant donut accessible to the masses by releasing their own take on the pastry in 2014.
The croissant donut is now a permanent part of their offerings and they keep things fresh by offering seasonal flavors, like this cookie dough-filled, snickerdoodle-inspired version.
4. Dunkin’ Donuts has been serving breakfast all day, long before it was cool.
Everyone loves sandwiches. They’re a great way to get all your food groups in one meal and the best meal to take on the go. Virtually every country in the world has some version of bread, meat, cheese, and/or vegetables that they hold dear. Sandwiches are a staple of the American food landscape and Dunkin’ Donuts offers over a dozen different sandwiches that help satisfy America’s appetite.
Customers can choose from among several different fillings like bacon, ham, eggs, cheese, and even an Angus steak patty. They also have their choice of breads, which include bagels, biscuits, croissants, and flatbread.
With so many options and the ability to order any sandwich all day, even their breakfast ones, any customer can find satisfaction with Dunkin’ Donuts’ sandwiches.
5. They’ve elevated the already perfect Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are one of the most beloved candies in America. It is a classic and timeless candy and is second only to M&M’s in its popularity.
The bready nature of a donut is a great vehicle for the candy’s combination of peanut butter and chocolate. So of course it was only natural for Dunkin’ Donuts to team up with Hershey to release the Reese’s Peanut Butter Square.
The donut is a square version of their classic donut filled with a Reese’s peanut butter cream and topped with a chocolate glaze and orange drizzle that pays tribute to the iconic Reese’s packaging.
It’s a donut that is sure to make any fan of the candy happy.
6. Dunkin’ Donuts changes their products with the seasons.
A good black coffee is no longer enough to keep customers happy. These days coffee comes in many different styles and flavors that can appeal to whatever a customer is in the mood for.
The changing seasons means the availability of certain foods. With the summer comes watermelon and backyard barbecues; winter means comfort foods and peppermint; spring brings fresh fruits and vegetables; and fall means pumpkin flavored everything.
Dunkin’ Donuts’ offerings also change with the seasons and many of their donuts and drinks are only available for a limited time. Their Pumpkin Latte is an annual favorite only available during the fall.
7. They’ve made Chips Ahoy! and Oreo refreshingly sweet.
Oreo and Chips Ahoy! are two of the most popular cookie brands in America. As delicious as these cookies are in their original forms, they’re even better mixed into cool treats.
Who doesn’t love cookies and cream and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream? Dunkin’ Donuts offers a sweet way for customers to cool off by mixing Oreos and Chips Ahoy! into their iced coffee Coolatta drinks. The Oreo and Chips Ahoy! Coolattas were last summer’s limited drinks.
8. Dunkin’ knows how to celebrate.
These days there seems to be a holiday for everything you can think of. There’s a day dedicated to ice cream and even a day honoring chocolate covered raisins. So of course there’s a day celebrating the donut.
National Donut Day falls on the first Friday in June and Dunkin’ Donuts always has something special going on. Last year they offered a free donut with every beverage purchase.
With Dunkin’ Donuts’ many different delicious offerings, I’m sure we all wish that every day were National Donut Day.
9. They inspire you to get creative in the kitchen.
Pinterest is the digital pin board beloved by creative people everywhere. It’s a place to share DIY projects, home décor tips, and recipes.
Any company in the know will find a way to utilize Pinterest, and Dunkin’ Donuts is no exception. Their official Pinterest page shares recipes from the culinary corner of the Dunkin’ Donuts Blog. The blog shows you ways you can use anything from their donuts to even their drinks to take your recipes to the next level.
Through Pinterest and its blog, Dunkin’ Donuts has found a way to inspire people to do more with their products.
10. Despite their name, the chain isn’t solely dedicated to donuts.
More people are being exposed to different cuisines thanks to the rise in popularity of travel shows and photo sharing apps like Instagram. With this new knowledge comes curiosity and an interest in trying these new foods.
Unfortunately, we can’t all just hop on a plane and head over to France or Japan to try their dishes. Smart companies like Dunkin’ Donuts know that in order to stay relevant, they need to diversify their menu and continually offer new and better items.
So even though donuts are their bread and butter, Dunkin’ Donuts offers a wide assortment of other baked goods. They offer muffins, Danishes, and plain and chocolate croissants.
Dunkin’ Donuts continues to evolve and move along with the ever changing trends in the food industry. They’ve done an excellent job in cultivating a strong social media presence across a number of different platforms.
Dunkin’ Donuts has been around for 66 years and is still going strong. With the company’s willingness to adapt, there’s a good chance that they’ll be around to celebrate their 100th anniversary.