Entrepreneur Plus - Short White
For Subscribers

Why It Took Dunkin' Donuts 10 Years to Build the Perfect New Cup The inside story of the struggle the donut chain had in phasing out its iconic, yet hazardous, styrofoam cup.

By Alyssa Giacobbe

This story appears in the July 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Floto + Warner

In New England, it is often said, Dunkin' Donuts is religion. Not only does it have a rock-solid reputation for consistency -- the chain still uses the original coffee blend established by founder Bill Rosenberg more than 60 years ago -- it's also egalitarian, the sort of place where your car salesman grandfather and your techie nephew might run into Patriots owner Bob Kraft, all out for their morning Dunks run. This universal quality is part of what has helped the brand engender a ritualistic loyalty and retain a distinctly local vibe, even as it has expanded to more than 12,500 stores in 46 countries. It is also why Dunkin' does not take change lightly.

Related: 10 Product Innovations You Need on Your Radar Right Now

This is not to say it hasn't made innovations over the years. You don't get this big without moving forward. But change is often slow, says COO Scott Murphy; it requires "uber-communication" with guests and inevitably results in an onslaught of hate mail anyway. "We have such loyal customers, who are coming four, five times a week," Murphy says. "When we don't get it right -- maybe we give them the wrong flavor coffee or a doughnut instead of a bagel or we change their cup…we change something -- it's a big deal," he says. Last year, for instance, when the chain announced it would be replacing its fan favorite Coffee Coolatta with something, in the words of then SVP of marketing Chris Fuqua, "better," called the Frozen Iced Coffee, customers accused it of "basically ruining everything."

This is a subscriber-only article. Join Entrepreneur+ today for access

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Business News

These 11 Retailers Are Most Likely to File For Bankruptcy in 2023, According to a New Report

Several well-known retailers already filed for bankruptcy in 2023 — now, a new report is highlighting the retailers most likely to follow suit.

Business News

Man Unexpectedly Wins $4 Million Lottery — On a Ticket He Almost Didn't Buy

A Michigan resident stumbled upon a life-changing $4 million lottery jackpot when his preferred game was unavailable.

Starting a Business

From Launch to Liftoff — Insider Secrets That Will Help You Build a Thriving Startup

Here's what you need to know to launch a successful startup.


How This Leader Disrupted and Innovated the Massive Travel Market

Inspirato co-founder and CEO Brent Handler shares the 10 most important leadership lessons he's picked up over the course of his career.

Business News

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon Says AI 'Is Real' and Will Eliminate the 5-Day Work Week. Here's How His Company's Going All In.

The financial services firm advertised for thousands of AI-related roles earlier this year.

Business News

Woman Trapped Under Driverless Car in San Francisco Suffers Life-Threatening Injuries

"There was no driver and no passenger in the car to be able to tell us what happened," San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson Justin Schorr said of the scene.