Dunkin' Donuts, Krispy Kreme Eye Bess Eaton Chain

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Randolph, Massachusetts-Dunkin' Donuts Inc. said that it, along with a group of its franchisees, would pursue a possible bid for the assets of the Bess Eaton Donut Flour Co., which filed Monday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Rhode Island.

Dunkin' Donuts, a coffee and baked-goods chain with more than 5,800 units, said it would "aggressively compete" for the 48 Bess Eaton Coffee and Bake Shops, which operate in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts. In a statement, the company noted that the proposed deal between Bess Eaton and Tim Hortons Inc., the 2,527-unit doughnut-cafe subsidiary of Wendy's International Inc., was still subject to approval of the bankruptcy court and creditors. "Ultimately, the purchaser will be determined on a full and fair bidding process," George Condos, Dunkin' Donuts brand officer said.

Sources close to the bankruptcy proceedings said Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. and its franchisees also are interested in bidding for the Bess Eaton units. Officials at Krispy Kreme could not be reached for comment as of press time. -Nation's Restaurant News