Burr says the non-traditional focus has been split nearly 50–50 over the last few years between its traditional franchisee base—those who have stores on the streets, in shopping centers with endcaps, and find lease opportunities in their local communities—and those “non-traditional franchisees,” as Dunkin’ calls them. In that case, it’s operators who own and operate a facility, and then also own the Dunkin’ inside. Additionally, some commercial foodservice companies, like Aramark, Sodexo, and Compass, as well as airport concession groups, have opportunities typical Dunkin’ franchisees might not.
This past year, leading travel retail company Hudson Group opened two non-traditional Dunkin's in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Dunkin' signed a three-unit deal with grocery Price Chopper in Kansas, and debuted 12 reststop and travel center outposts around the country. Dunkin’ plans to develop an additional 20 locations with Pilot Flying J Travel Centers in 2018 and expand its partnership with Great Wolf Lodge (10 locations are currently open), with plans to open at two new resorts this summer—one in the outskirts of Atlanta and another outside Chicago. Hudson Group expects to open four in 2018.
Dunkin’ opened its first non-traditional location at the University of Hawaii in October as well, rounding out eight total college and university campus units in 2017, including George Mason, Binghamton, and its second Air Force Academy restaurant in Colorado Springs.
What Burr finds opportunistic about this growth is Dunkin’s ability to evolve its brand by the opening.
“What’s interesting about us is that the Dunkin’ brand has the ability to flex a little bit,” he says. “We can offer self serve. We can do limited menus. We can do full menu. And we can really tailor the brand to the needs of a specific location.”
At a family fun park location, where Dunkin’s non-traditional store was serving extremely high volume, the brand simplified offerings by selling six packs of Munchkins and just beverages.
“The key for me is making sure you’ve look at each of these locations through a little bit different lens than you would a street store. You still have to maintain the quality and the brand presence that the customer is going to expect, but you may have a little bit different menu,” he says. “But still, that cup of coffee has to be the same. If you’re only going to serve coffee, the cup of coffee you get in the stadium has got to have the same quality standards as the cup of coffee you’re going to get in the restaurant. No matter what the product ends up being, you can’t skimp on it.”