Dunkin’ Donuts announced strong expansion results for 2009, including the opening of 351 net new locations worldwide and 131 new signed franchise commitments in the U.S.

For the year, Dunkin’ Donuts opened 171 net new restaurants in the U.S., of which 90 percent were outside of the brand’s core New England market. Included among these new and planned outlets are non-traditional locations such as airports, arenas, travel plazas, and universities.

“Despite the economy, Dunkin’ Donuts experienced strong net growth across the U.S. as well as internationally, which positions us as one of the fastest growing [quick-service] brands in the industry last year,” says Nigel Travis, CEO for Dunkin’ Brands. “As we continue to grow in 2010, we are focusing on steady, strategic growth that allows us to gain greater penetration in our existing markets, while also entering a few select new territories. Additionally, we are also focused on driving operational excellence in our existing locations to ensure our guests continue to enjoy a high-quality product and experience every day in new and existing locations alike.”

Dunkin’ Donuts signed multi-store development commitments in over 20 areas around the country, including new markets such as Louisville, Kentucky; Birmingham, Alabama; Dayton, Ohio; Madison, Wisconsin; and Erie, Pennsylvania. International expansion included net new locations in China, Korea, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and the Bahamas.

“We’re very pleased with Dunkin’ Donuts’ growth,” Travis says. “Our team has worked hard to evolve our concept to operate more efficiently and effectively and to include smaller footprints. Our 2009 growth speaks to the success of their efforts.”

In an effort to keep the brand fresh and competitive, Dunkin’ Donuts offers franchisees flexible design concepts including free-standing stores, end caps, in-line sites, kiosks, and gas stations, as well as other retail environments.

Dunkin’ Donuts has aligned its development strategy to support the growth opportunities and consumer needs of each individual market. As a result, franchising opportunities range from single units to multi-store development commitments with no unit minimums. This evolution of Dunkin’ Donuts franchise development effort enables it to expand, while balancing its market penetration and maturity.

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