Dunkin’ Brands

From the pages of Restaurant Franchising
Two Scoops of Opportunities

With 98 percent brand recognition, most everyone has heard of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins. But depending where people grew up, they might not have ever experienced Dunkin’ Donuts, or Baskin Robbins. Dunkin’ Donuts’ growth stemmed from the Northeast, while Baskin Robbins expanded east from its roots in California. And that is precisely what makes these two Dunkin’ Brands franchises such good opportunities.

“The key 2012 focus areas for franchising efforts include the states of Louisiana, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Ohio. Houston and Denver represent specific markets with rich opportunity as well,” says Grant Benson, vice president of development at Dunkin’ Brands.

“Both brands are iconic, well-loved brands with more than 65 years of history. We are built to last. We have incredible brand recognition, but there are still so many markets with growth opportunities. You don’t get that with other iconic brands—there’s not the same opportunity for growth.”

Even with nearly universal recognition, it remains important for the franchisees to be locally connected. “We screen for it in the interview and selection process. Having a local point of view is one of the most important traits of our most successful franchisees. They understand the local culture, but more than that, they are part of the fabric of the community,” Benson says. “While the power of the brand is foundational, Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins remain local businesses. When the owners think and act locally, they are so much more successful.”

The two brands offer distinct opportunities under the umbrella of success of Dunkin’ Brands. “Baskin Robbins is a smaller operation, more of an individual opportunity with each franchisee typically owning one or two locations,” Benson says. The restaurants offer shorter hours and a simpler menu, which means less investment is needed to get up and running. Liquid assets of $125,000 and net worth of $250,000 are needed for Baskin Robbins.

“We have incredible brand recognition, but there are still so many markets with growth opportunities.” —Grant Benson, VP Development

“Dunkin’ Donuts operates in a more competitive segment and still does very well with heavy penetration throughout many markets. It’s a bigger, more complex operation, and franchisees with proven quick-service restaurant experience are the best candidates. The average Dunkin’ Donuts operator owns about six stores,” he says.

Both brands support their franchisees with established systems and training, as well as national and local development, construction, operations, and marketing support. The company encourages franchisee input with advisory boards, marketing steering committees, and other opportunities. “Our franchisees are an invaluable source of information for us,” Benson says. “We get excellent feedback, and the best learning comes from the collaboration we have with them.”

Dunkin’ Brands continues to expand both brands, offering new franchising opportunities in more than 70 markets coast to coast. “We can offer both of these brand opportunities to candidates,” Benson says. “In some situations, we have the opportunity to put both brands under the same roof.

“We are also interested in continuing to grow our alternative points of distribution that serve captive audiences. We are already in many colleges, transportation centers, travel centers, and military bases.”

No matter which brand prospective candidates are interested in, “both benefit from the support of Dunkin’ Brands,” Benson says. “We are committed to a franchised model, so we don’t compete with our franchisees for real estate, employees, or customers. Our entire focus is on making our franchisees more profitable, enabling them to grow their businesses, and providing them the systems and tools to thrill the thousands of guests who visit us each day.”

For more information about franchising opportunities with Dunkin’ Brands, visit www.dunkinfranchising.com.