Starbucks Tries to become the new Dunkin' Donuts
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.