For a peak into the future, Dunkin’s NextGen restaurants are built around the digital-ordering boom, and the results reflect that. Hoffmann said there are some markets where it balloons from the 4 percent average to 20–25 percent. Dunkin’ sees better throughput thanks to that shift, too.
Its NextGen remodel program cleared the 400-store bar in mid-October. Dunkin’ is on pace to have 500 opened by year’s end between new builds and remodels. The restaurant, in addition to an eight-headed tap system, modern décor package, front-counter bakery, and more efficient coffee line, also features an enhanced pickup area that has helped lift mobile orders, Hoffmann said.
Not surprisingly, the whole package is returning better customer satisfaction scores. Part of that is what’s new and fresh to Dunkin’, but the other is how NextGen stores accentuate brand differentiators in ways old ones didn’t.
The tap system, for instance, reinforces Dunkin’ industry-fronting cold-beverage platform. Everything else nods to speed of service and convenience—where the chain tries to run away from the coffee pack.
Scott Murphy, Dunkin’s chief operating officer, said a rise in mobile orders creates a convenience trickle-down effect of sorts. It takes the business and moves it outside the restaurant—the ordering, payment, all happens on a customer’s time when they’re not actually in-store. “Which is just the most efficient and accurate and high-quality transaction for our restaurants,” he said.
Hoffmann added Dunkin’ is building these restaurants with digital in mind now, not trying to retrofit the trend. “… Continue to work on this,” he said in reference to NextGen units, “but not designing a mobile order and pay [setup] that’s 5 percent, but that’s significantly greater—three, four times that, which is where we think the trends will go in the future. Not just for us but for the industry as a whole.”