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Starbucks Tries to become the new Dunkin' Donuts

Updated on March 23, 2016
Billrrrr profile image

Bill Russo is featured in the film & TV show, The Bridgewater Triangle & has written several books (both fiction & non) on Amazon Kindle.

In this hub's poll, Starbucks is currently favored over DD


In New England, there’s a DD on every street corner of every town. There are even Dunkies in Police Stations!!!!!

As for Starbucks, you will have to search for miles and miles to find one. There was one (mostly for tourists) in an outlet mall in the town of Bourne, next to the Cape Cod Canal - but it closed down in 2013.

There are a few kiosks inside of Stop & Shop Supermarkets. Often the locals who work for Stop & Shop bypass the in-house coffee joint, and use five minutes of their short break to run to the nearest DD. One manager told me that he has had a Starbucks in his store for seven years and he’s never had a single cup!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are some Starbucks in the larger cities of New England - Boston, Providence, Hartford etc - but most communities do not have a Starbucks.

That said, DD has about 10,000 stores and Starbucks has about 17,000. But most of DD stores are in New England and on the East Coast - less than 80 franchisees are west of the Mississippi River.

What DD has then, is a massive concentration of stores in a fairly small area from Maine to Florida and Starbucks wants a bigger slice of that pie.

The third big coffee/donut chain, Krispy Kreme does not exist in New England and is rare elsewhere in the Northeast. There is a single store in Connecticut at one of the casinos, for tourists. KK tried to get into New England a few years ago, but it did not go well and the experiment was soon scrapped.

As a “Brand Ambassador”, (a super market demonstrator) I have dispensed hundreds of cups of Starbucks coffee. Starbucks does have it supporters, but they are far outnumbered by the people who like the much milder, Dunkin Coffee.

Burger King switched to a Starbucks brand - “Seattle’s Best” coffee. I don’t know the figures, but I would be willing to bet the farm, that their New England coffee sales have dropped by a large number, since the switch. Several long time BK customers in the town of Dennis, right in the middle of Cape Cod, have stopped going to the BK because of the coffee. They have switched to DD or Cumberland Farms, which sells its mild ‘Farmhouse Blend’ for just a dollar.

McDonald’s brews a special New England style coffee for its Northeast stores and it has been very well received.

Starbucks resisted change for many years and stuck with their bold, full flavored coffee; even as they saw Dunkin and other companies outselling them ten to one. About 12 months ago, company strategy changed.

Starbucks after 40 years, came out with a mild coffee that they hope will draw away some of the DD people. The new blend is called Starbucks Blonde. Hundreds of “Brand Ambassadors” rolled out the new brew inside of Stop & Shop stores by giving away thousands of free sample cups.

As you might expect, hard core Starbucks fans chose to stay with their traditional blend, but many of the DD people did like the new mellow brew and it has been selling strong ever since it was introduced.

Starbucks latest mild coffee hit the shelves in early May of 2013. Once again the sample people brewed and served thousands of free cups of coffee. The new blend is called Starbuck’s Mocha. Free samples were available at select locations.

Mocha is the latest volley by Starbucks in their assault on the venerable Dunkin brand. Will it be successful? Will Starbucks be able to slice away at the virtual monopoly DD has in New England?

You only have to look to Canada for a glimpse of what could happen. Years ago, Dunkin’ Donuts was big North of the U.S. border.

Tim Horton’s fast food restaurants took aim on DD and literally drove them out of Canada. Today there are only a handful of Dunkin Shops (mostly in Quebec), while Tim Horton’s has over 3,000 stores - more than any other fast food chain, even Ronald McDonald.

So Dunkin Donuts, which was founded in 1950 near Boston, can be beaten.

Watch for Starbucks to make further moves and inroads in the near future.


FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a salesman and will sell whatever product I am being paid to promote. Today Starbucks, tomorrow ?

I will show and tell; and sell.

My own preference is not for Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks. My favorite is the Cumberland Farms coffee and my second favorite is the McDonald’s New England/Paul Newman blend.

Vote for the Best Coffee

Which Coffee is Better?

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    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      5 years ago from Cape Cod

      We have Panera too but I rarely go there. The coffee is just average and the baked goods are a little too rich - both in calories and price!!!!!

    • bearnmom profile image

      Laura L Scotty 

      5 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      There are so many coffee houses in Pittsburgh it's hard to keep up with them all. We have starbucks, dunkin donuts, au bon pain, paneer (mostly baked goods), and a host of bagel shops such as bruggers bagels and einstein bros. Not to mention the fast food chains and convenience stores, McDonalds, Wendy's and Burger King, CoGo's, AM Mini Mart to name a few. All serve coffee of their own brand.

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      5 years ago from Cape Cod

      I looked up the U.S. locations of Tim Hortons on their website. They are only in 11 states right now, but based on their incredible success in Canada, it would seem they are bound to make a bigger splash in the U.S.

    • BOGOBabies profile image

      Emily 

      5 years ago from Florida

      Sorry, to clarify the Tim Hortons is in PA. They are talking about putting one in where I am in FL, but that's simply because a lot of Northerners live down here in the winter.

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      5 years ago from Cape Cod

      Great to get a report from a place that has had every shop! Thanks BOGOBabies for you valuable input. I did not know that there are Tim Hortons in Florida. I want to try it. The most interesting thing to me in your comment is that you first had Starbucks, then KK, then TH and finally DD....and Dunkies is your favorite (even though you have worked for Starbucks).

    • BOGOBabies profile image

      Emily 

      5 years ago from Florida

      This was a great read! Where I grew up (PA) we had Starbucks first, then Krispy Kreme, then Tim Hortons, and finally Dunkin. I LOVE Dunkin and honestly think it blows the others out of the water. This is a really interesting article. I never thought about the fact that the new brews from Starbucks might actually be geared towards stealing DD fans. I think they'll be out of luck--there's something magical in DD's cream and sugar that Starbucks doesn't have. (By the way, I worked at Starbucks and I still prefer DD.)

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      5 years ago from Cape Cod

      Hi Just Ask Susan. Thank you so much for checking in from Ontario. I was so hoping we would get some input about Tim Horton's. You have ten in a town of 33,000! That's like DD here. There's almost one on every block. In the center of Dennis, there's one next to the Supermarket and one across the street. Then if you go down three stoplights on Route 134 you hit another one! And that doesn't even count the mini ones that are placed inside gas stations. When I lived in Madawaska at the top of the state of Maine, I would get to Edmundston, New Brunswick every few days, and once in a while head down South to Montreal. But back then there were no Tim Horton's. I have put a visit to Tim's on my Bucket List. I am very eager to try it.

    • bearnmom profile image

      Laura L Scotty 

      5 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      Bill, thank you for your observation on Pennsylvanians. I hope if you ever get this way again that you will continue to meet our friendly people and enjoy what I call the best of the states with hills and dales that are so lovely especially in autumn with the glorious autumn colors. And, definitely, stop at a CoGo's for their house blend coffee.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I'm in a small city of around 33,000 people in Ontario and we have 10 Tim Hortons. In the larger cities in Canada there are quite a few Starbucks . I used to live in Quebec and would always go to Dunkin Donuts. My husband prefers Tims to Starbucks and I like both places myself.

      Very interesting hub!

      Voting up +++ and sharing.

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      5 years ago from Cape Cod

      Kathryn Stanford thanks so much for the wonderful comment. I think that coffee is usually polarizing, with people adamantly lining up for one or the other. Your more open attitude and fondness for more than a single coffee line probably means you get more enjoyment from your beverage. As for Cape Cod, I am in the middle in Dennis Port, and I love it. But I will admit that the best place on Cape Cod in the middle of winter is...... Southern Florida !!!!!! During the dark months, I try to go as often as I can!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 

      5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      I am a coffee lover, but I would have trouble voting for a favorite. I like variety, and don't always drink the same thing. I love Dunkin's French Vanilla coffee, as well as their Pumpkin Spice in the Autumn. But I am very likely to buy the inexpensive and incredibly tasty McD's coffee (Newman's Own), which is only $1.07 per cup here (any size), and is delicious as a non-flavored coffee. But when I am in the mood for a stronger coffee, I enjoy buying a Starbucks, usually an Americano with cream and Splenda. And I agree with you about Cumberland Farms coffee: delicious! I have worked at the convenience store several times in my life, and I enjoyed having free coffee my entire shift! At the moment, I don't live near a Cumbies.

      You live in Cape Cod? Oh, you are lucky! I don't know how fun it would be to live there in the Winter, but it is my favorite place to visit in the Spring and Autumn months. Now that I live in Boston (rather than CT), I can go more often, because it's close enough to go for a day trip.

      Thanks for sharing this overview of the different coffee chains, and competition.

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      5 years ago from Cape Cod

      Hello PurvisBobbi44. Thanks for adding input from sunny Florida. Years ago my brother, an avid DD fan, would not winter in Florida unless he could stay in an area that had a Dunkin'. There didn't seem to be that many at the time. I have been staying in Lake Worth (Palm Beach County) the last couple winters. The New England snowbirds in Lake Worth always head for the nearest DD.

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      5 years ago from Cape Cod

      Hi bearnmom. Thanks for the comment and giving us perspective from Pennsylvania. Where I live (Cape Cod, Massachusetts) we don't have a Cogo's. I guess Cumberland Farms is probably similar. I actually like Cumbies' Coffee better than both Starbucks and DD. I don't drink it black . I take cream but NO sugar. Next time I am in PA, I will be sure to try the coffee at Cogos. I had a motor vehicle breakdown on the highway in the tiny town of Knox, PA 12 years ago. I was struck by the beauty of the mountains on all sides. A gas station attendant in Knox very kindly helped me to get going again.

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      5 years ago from Cape Cod

      Paul, thanks for the great comment and perspective from Thailand. In doing coffee demos frequently, I have noticed that many people with close ties to Europe prefer a stronger blend such as Starbucks. I would love to know the sales figures of both companies in Thailand. There seems to be little middle ground, where people like both DD and Starbucks. It's almost always one or the other.

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 

      5 years ago from Florida

      Hi,

      Great informative hub about coffee choices. I love DD's coffee it is tasty and mild. Starbucks is too strong for me and leaves an after taste.

      Bobbi Purvis

    • bearnmom profile image

      Laura L Scotty 

      5 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      You have peeked my interest with this hub. My favorite saying when passing a Starbucks in my supermarket is "I don't do designer coffee." I have purchased DD coffee in the past but it too is too strong a flavor for my liking. I normally buy my coffee from outside the house at CoGo's and drink their House Blend with a cube in it to make it palatable. I guess I'm a black Joe drinker preferring it not so strong and that's one reason I don't like the flavored blends sold at these coffee shops.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      5 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Bill,

      This is an interesting hub. All over Thailand there are both Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. From my personal observations, the foreigners here, especially the tourists, prefer Starbucks. Voted up and sharing with followers.

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 

      5 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      Actually, there have been dunkins in different places in the world inside of airports. I did notice one in the VFW TEXAS airport one time and a few others in different places. Of all places, Santiago, Chile had one. Not sure where else.

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      5 years ago from Cape Cod

      Thanks Kas. I prefer Dunkin over Starbucks. I have noticed that every airport I am in, always has a Starbucks but I never seem to be able to find a Dunkin. Have you noticed this also?

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 

      5 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      I liked this hub quite a bit. I'm a coffee fan so this intrigued me. My wife and I were heading to dunkin donuts today to have a cup of joe and I saw this right before we leave so I had to read it. We used to enjoy Starbucks every blue moon but we've stopped going there for several reasons now. One of them being the fact that they cost so darn much while dunkin is a lot more affordable. You bring up some good points in here in general but I'm still a dunkin fan! Voting this up and I'm sharing. I love coffee hubs.

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