By Samantha Iacone
As word spreads quickly around, it is true that Dunkin’ Donuts has been testing a name change. Fortune reports that, “The change comes at the request of the coffee chain’s parent company Dunkin’ Brands, which hopes to test the new name at a few other locations.” Dunkin’ plans to still sell donuts, another controversial topic, although this change is a push to become more known for their coffee. The company plans to make a decision on this name change towards the end of 2018 in time to redesign stores.
This coming summer and fall Dunkin’ Brands plans to implement this name change starting in California as a test run. They plan to do this by opening a new store in southern California with the test name: Dunkin’. This push by Dunkin’ Brands entails rebranding their chain in many different ways because they are trying to establish a new identity based around their coffee to keep up with competition. Chris Malone, managing partner at Fidelum Partners, on behalf of Fortune, writes; “A company spokesperson described the test as a prelude to a planned redesign of its menu and retail format to ‘reinforce that Dunkin’ Donuts is a beverage-led brand and coffee leader.’” This California store is just one of 8,500 of the companies U.S. locations that will be tested in the coming year.
Although Dunkin’ Brands has plans of implementing this test run, the company has also received a great amount of negative feedback. Malone explains that this test name change is too late for the brand as they have been slow to implement changes in correspondence to other companies in their beverage market. He adds that these reasons are shaped around the slow pace of change which may lead to bigger problems.
He highlights that, again, Dunkin’ Donuts has “already missed its opportunity to broaden its appeal.” In 2006, Dunkin’ Donuts advertised their campaign ‘America Runs on Dunkin’ which publicized their brands quick and affordable coffee and donut alternative in comparison to rival Starbucks. This was a push to rebrand the company all together when there was a growing popularity of specialty coffee. The company never actually followed through with implementing these changes and ultimately failed to do the duty they promised to their customers. Additionally, it is believed that this name change should have been completed in their first rebrand attempt.
There has been a strong growth in coffee sales over the past five years while there is a huge demand for cold coffee. Malone adds that, “the future of coffee is cold and ready to drink.” Cold coffee accounts for 20% of coffee sales in the United States. Starbucks currently, in 2017, serves over 35% of these cold coffee sales. Since Starbucks holds a great percentage of these profits, it can be concluded that Dunkin’ Donuts “has a long way to go to gain credibility and share in the hot market for cold coffee.” Malone concludes that since there is a huge market for coffee currently and as we lead into the future, the company has a big shoe to fill because of this large competition.