What We Can Learn From Dunkin’

Photo Nancy Luna

Colleges Run On Dunkin’

Well, not really. Or at least, not yet. Colleges, like many of us, run on coffee, and Dunkin’ Donuts is revamping the way we get our coffee.  A new prototype store, opened in Corona California showcases a step away from the traditional DD franchise. The prototype store is tech-forward with an empahsis on convenience and introduces ameneties such as charging stations, touch screens and mobile ordering, as well as a wider variety of snacks;  all things that students value in their increasingly hectic lives.

Dunkin’ Donuts currently offers a variety of restaurant models that suit just about any university. From full retail shops occupying more traditionl retail space, to kiosks that can be fit into smaller, or more convenient spaces in campus centers, student unions, dining commons, and other high-traffic locations. In part because of this, Dunkin is one of the fastest growing quick service (QSR) brands based on unit growth- they opened 86 non-traditional locations last year.  

What’s actually happening here?

Photo Nancy Luna

De-commodification, and Dunkin’ Donuts is a great example of it. They are taking what would usually be assumed to be a commodity product and turning it into something special.  Quality products, friendly and efficient service, clean facilities and a fresh physical presence are all necessary parts of the offering, but it’s even more critical that the overall vibe is interesting and unique.  Above all, the in-store experience should be additive, generating the feeling of having gotten more out of the visit than just a cup of coffee: I learned something, I was able to get some work done while I was there, I ended up talking with an interesting person, the staff had me try something new which was great.  Creating that good memory brings customers back again and again. That sounds a lot like the experience colleges are trying to provide as well.

“We’re making sure we stay relevant and ahead of consumer demand”

– Parag Patel, Corona CA Dunkin Donuts Franchisee