#2 on the Franchise 500: How Dunkin' Continues To Thrive

Even with a forward looking rebrand to just Dunkin', the #2 company on our Franchise 500 list knows its soul.

This story appears in the January 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Started franchising:1955   

Total units*: 12,740   

Cost to open: $228.6K–$1.7M

Courtesy of Dunkin’ Brands

The restaurant formerly known as Dunkin’ Donuts has a new name, a new store design, and a new focus for 2019. 

Dunkin’ -- just Dunkin’ as of September 2018 -- is all about the beverage business now. Last year, it introduced a new espresso option, a new Styrofoam-free cup, a new tap system for serving cold beverages, and new uniforms for its crew, which feature caffeinated slogans like “Fueled by Positive Energy” and “Drink Coffee. Be Awesome.” 

Related: Why It Took Dunkin' Donuts 10 Years to Build the Perfect New Cup

“There’s tremendous energy with the Dunkin’ brand,” says Grant Benson, Dunkin’s senior vice president of franchising and development, whose brand ranked #3 on our list last year. “We’re excited for what’s ahead in 2019 and beyond.”

What’s ahead will be a giant rollout: The company had a goal of opening 50 of its newly designed stores in 2018, and as of the end of the third quarter, it had already opened 60. But still, with 3,427 stores in its system internationally (and a net of 202 added this year), there’s a long way to go. “We have received very positive feedback from our franchise owners about the pivot and next-­generation store design,” Benson says, which is good for Dunkin’: It is 100 percent franchised, so franchisee buy-in is essential.

Related: Why Some States Still Don't Have a Dunkin' Donuts (But Probably Not for Long!)

Still, not everything will change. Dunkin’ has been selling doughnuts -- or “donuts” -- since 1948, when William Rosenberg opened the first location in Quincy, Mass. It won’t stop selling the treats now, and even its orange-and-pink DD logo won’t change. So the second D now stands for…a double dunk? 

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