With the Dunkin’ deal and its 12,800-plus locations (about 10 percent of which are in non-traditional sites), Inspire widened its portfolio to more than 31,600 restaurants in 60-plus countries, with $26 billion in annual systemwide sales. It employs 600,000 company and franchise team members, 3,200 franchisees, and more than 25 million loyalty members.
Just as it does with Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In, Jimmy John’s, and Rusty Taco, Inspire operates Dunkin’ and Baskin as distinct brands. But as CEO Paul Brown outlined from the outset (Inspire was formed following Arby’s $2.9 billion purchase of Buffalo Wild Wings in 2018), the company started in the hotel mold. Brown came to Arby’s from Hilton Worldwide.
From a high level this meant creating a framework where Inspire could drive concept value from within a multi-branded portfolio, or independent entities that pull from a center of strength.
Put another way, Inspire backends a focused, integrated model, things like HR, finance, legal, IT, and communications, and lets each brand rely on the resources of the other. Picture a hotel organization spreading out like a web from a base of power.
Inspire, in particular, spread acquisitions across a full spectrum of restaurant occasions. The end result being a group that not only touts benefit of scale as a means to save cost, but something that can unlock outside investments in long-term growth initiatives.
The Dunkin’ deal, in turn, gave Inspire a coffee, snacking, morning leader to complete the circle of a consumer’s journey: Arby’s/Jimmy John’s for lunch, Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner, and Sonic Drive-In for a night-cap. They all operate in distinct sectors, with colloboration taking place behind the scenes from a resources standpoint.
Part of that is less tangible than occasions themselves. Jimmy John’s delivery is one pool of knowledge Inspire pulled from. Sonic’s marketing and tech integrations. Buffalo Wild Wings loyalty. Now, Dunkin’s non-traditional muscle.
“All the brands within the Inspire family, we share the desire to continue expanding on our non-traditional efforts,” Burr says, “and making non-traditional a cornerstone of our operations across all of our brands. What’s exciting about being part of Inspire is we now can bring our non-traditional franchisees, concessionaires, contract theaters, airport operators—we can bring them a portfolio of brands with a one-stop.”
“If a concessionaire is responding to a [request for proposal] for a higher-education location that wants coffee, wants deli, wants [quick service], wants chicken, we can bring that portfolio and help fill out the needs of the entire RFP with a one-stop shop.”
Burr says it’s a powerful tool for Inspire going forward and one that’s going to factor in. Outside of Arby’s and its travel center presence, there’s ample whitespace to tackle.
“There’s no question that Dunkin’ has a heavy presence in non-traditional that some of our other brands do not currently,” he says. “… And all of our brand leaders have engaged early, understanding that there is tremendous upside in the non-traditional space. We’ve cleared the decks now to be able to move quickly and boldly into the non-traditional space with all of the Inspire brands.”