Dunkin’ Donuts continues to differentiate on menu

by Eric Schroeder
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NEW YORK — If breakfast sandwiches are really the “glue” that holds the Dunkin’ Donuts business together, things are about to get stickier following the company’s announcement it will launch a glazed donut breakfast sandwich nationwide on June 7, which happens to be National Donut Day.

The sandwich, which features a fried egg and cherrywood-smoked bacon inside a split glazed yeast ring donut, will become a permanent menu item at Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. restaurants. The sandwich has 360 calories.

“The glazed donut is light and fluffy and gives you just the right amount of sweetness,” said Stan Frankenthaier, executive chef and vice-president of global product innovation. “Combined with the lightly salted, smoked bacon, the texture and flavors marry together in a wonderful way. It’s a delicious bite of the perfect harmonization of sweet and savory flavors.”

News of the product’s launch coincided with a June 4 presentation made by Nigel Travis, chairman and chief executive officer, at the Goldman Sachs Lodging, Gaming, Restaurant and Leisure Conference in New York. During the conference, Mr. Travis identified the company’s breakfast sandwiches as being a difference maker in what is oftentimes a complicated U.S. market.

“Our breakfast sandwiches, I think, are like the glue,” he said. “It attracts people to the beverages. It migrates people from one form of food, i.e., donuts through to beverages.”

Mr. Travis said the glazed donut breakfast sandwich launch exemplifies the broader strategy within the food program at Dunkin’ Donuts: to differentiate in everything the company does and deliver on a high margin opportunity.

“We’ve got literally 1,000 different breakfast sandwich products, if you take all the different carriers and the different proteins,” Mr. Travis said. “So that’s worked very well. But I think what we’ve found is that customers like trying new sandwiches.”

He said he expects the new glazed donut sandwich “is probably going to do very well.”

Mr. Travis also spoke glowingly about the company’s innovation in beverages. Dunkin’ on June 4 introduced Hot Chocolate Coolatta, a product Mr. Travis said is “probably a contradiction in terms.” The new frozen beverage joins three other new Coolatta flavors — Berry Blast, raspberry lime and Minute Maid orange — along with several varieties that have been reintroduced, including frozen lemonade, blue raspberry and strawberry lemonade.

“I think you’re going to see us continue to innovate with (limited-time offers) and K-Cups, which has worked very well,” Mr. Travis said. “We’ve got the new Mocha K-Cup coming out this month. We’ll continue to have some (limited-time offer) K-Cups coming out. We are looking at expanding our hot coffee line.

“We’ve obviously innovated this year on the ice coffee line with bringing in and leveraging the Baskin-Robbins’ flavors. And I think an area that we are really kind of excited about in the future is tea. … We study trends and we see tea as a growing opportunity and again a very high margin product.”

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