Dunkin’ is planning to reopen as many dining rooms as possible by the summer, with more than 1,000 reopenings coming in just the past six weeks. 

Overall, more than 2,600 Dunkin’ locations have reopened in-restaurant dining. The brand expects additional locations to bring back indoor dining every week leading into the summer. 

“As we continue to navigate through the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, we want to reinforce our ongoing commitment to the health and safety of guests, franchisees, employees, and the communities we serve,” said Dunkin’ President Scott Murphy in a statement. “We’re continuing our legacy of being there when people need us most and we have a thoughtful approach with our franchisees to reopen as many dining rooms as possible by summer to welcome our guests for inside dining.”

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While a handful of states have removed capacity restrictions for restaurants, Dunkin’ said it will continue to follow the guidance of public health officials as it assesses the best ways to reopen dining rooms. Stores will continue to enforce social distancing, hygiene training, face masks, plexiglass shields, and recommended employee health checks using infrared thermometers. 

“Dunkin’ has been—and always will be—there for our guests,” said Jim Cain, who operates stores in New York and Connecticut, in a statement. “As we continue to see restrictions loosen, and our dining rooms reopen, you can feel that spark of energy from our restaurant team members and guests fill the restaurants. We continue to build our guests’ confidence with great food and drinks and are thrilled to welcome them back to their special place.”

Through most of COVID, more than 90 percent of stores have stayed open via drive-thru, takeout, curbside, and third-party delivery. Early into the pandemic, As many as 1,200 U.S. units temporarily closed at one point. Franchisees were allowed to shrink hours to clean stores at night and nearly 2,000 locations closed their front lobby to focus on drive-thru. To improve speed and reduce complexity, the company formed a curated menu for franchisees with a limited staff.

Pre-COVID, 90 percent of business came via off-premises. Last summer, Dunkin’ reported that it added curbside pickup to more than 1,000 locations and more than doubled its delivery footprint. At the time, stores with drive-thru saw 95 percent of sales come through that channel. 

Dunkin’ ended 2020 with 9,083 franchised stores across the U.S, according to the brand’s FDD. At the end of March, the company celebrated the opening of its 1,000th Next Generation restaurant, a new model that features new colors and design materials, a dedicated mobile order pick-up area (and a mobile order drive-thru lane at some spots), and an innovative tap system for cold beverages. 

Consumer Trends, Fast Food, Story, Dunkin' Donuts