Dunkin: Innovation sustainable over long haul

by Eric Schroeder
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LONDON — Innovation is “kind of the lifeblood” of the Dunkin’ brand, and as such is the key factor driving the business, Paul Carbone, chief financial officer of Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc., told participants at the NASDAQ OMX International Investor Program held Dec. 5 in London.

Mr. Carbone listed a number of new product platforms and line extensions that have performed well over the past 15 years, including Coolatta frozen drinks, bagels, ice coffee and K-Cups. He cleared up any concerns that innovation may dry up by explaining that the pipeline “is stocked fuller than I’ve seen it since I’ve joined the company.”

“Now, part of that is because I talk about winning begets winning, so three years ago we launched the waffle breakfast sandwich — it was a huge home run,” he said. “Then we came back the next year and we made the waffle blueberry and we made the sausage maple, and that was a huge home run. We came back the third year and re-infused the waffle with maple syrup and we changed the sausage, and that was a huge home run.

“So, when you’re winning, what you get to do is tweak product. If that first waffle sandwich had failed, it would have taken out not only that product, but the two after. So we have a significantly deep innovation product pipeline, and yes, I do think we can continuously comp over this, and it’s both the product and then driving news to the store.”
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