With the turn of the century just around the corner, Dunkin' Donuts is taking great strides toward modernizing its image. "We made a strategic decision to change our focus from being the No. 1 doughnut chain in the U.S. to being America's best coffee and baked goods retailer," explains Will Kussell, president of the 46-year-old franchisor based in Randolph, Massachusetts.
The systemwide changes, which encompass everything from a more contemporary store design and layout to a wider product selection and adjustments in store operations, are already reflected in five prototype stores across the nation. Within the next three to five years, Kussell expects all Dunkin' Donuts' 3,400 U.S. units to follow suit.
"When you walk into our new store," Kussell explains, "there's a very contemporary, warm feeling that is more like a neighborhood coffee shop than a traditional doughnut shop."
The company's first strategic changes occurred two years ago when Dunkin' Donuts rolled out a line of flavored coffees and low-fat muffins at many of its establishments. And with bagels now sharing the menu in 1,700 locations, the company's emphasis on the overall bakery experience will ensure consumers know Dunkin' Donuts is no longer just a doughnut shop. "We feel we are uniquely positioned to deliver great coffee and great baked goods," says Kussell. "No one else delivers [these products] like we do."