They say America runs on Dunkin’, which appears to be a fairly accurate statement when you consider there are more than 10,000 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in the U.S. and a whopping 60 percent of their annual revenue comes from coffee. (Sugar-filled donuts don’t tend to be major energy boosters, after-all…) Now, with a variety of new services, consumers don’t even have to risk major sugar temptations to get their hands on one of the 4,657,534 cups of coffee the mega-chain sells every day.
Fascinated yet? Here are nearly two dozen other things you probably didn’t know about this fast food giant. And while you have donuts on the brain, don’t miss our exclusive report on the 14 “Health” Foods Worse Than a Donut!
In its original iteration, Dunkin’ Donuts was called Open Kettle. Caterer William Rosenberg founded the business in Quincy, Massachusetts after World War II by cashing in $1,500 in war bonds and borrowing an additional $1,000. Open Kettle was originally founded in 1948 as a business that served coffee, pastries, and sandwiches to factory workers.
When Rosenberg discovered that 40 percent of Open Kettle’s profits came from donuts and coffee, he realized the restaurant needed a better name. So, he put his executives in a room and told them to brainstorm. His architect is said to be the one who came up with Dunkin’ Donuts, and in 1950, they made it official. (Dunkin’ considers 1950 to be the first year of business even though Rosenberg opened the same brick-and-mortar store in 1948, as it was under a different name.) In its original iteration, DD sold four varieties of donuts and 52 kinds total.
Bonus! The original Dunkin Donuts is still standing in Quincy and has been restored to its ’50s glory.
America Runs On Dunkin’ now, but at one point, those Americans were getting their coffee and tea from across the pond. In 1990, Dunkin’ Donuts was acquired by the now-defunct British food and spirits conglomerate Allied-Lyons (which then merged into Allied Domecq). After French-based beverage company Pernod Ricard took over Allied Domecq in 2005, they agreed to sell Dunkin’ Brands to a consortium of three US private equity firms. Dunkin’ Brands has been completely independent of the three previous private equity owners since 2012.
In 1955, Rosenberg’s brother-in-law, Harry Winokur, broke his partnership with Rosenberg and went on to create his own doughnut company: Mister Donut. The company flourished domestically and abroad, most notably in Japan, where it is the largest donut chain in the country. You can still find Mister Donut stores in Japan because a Japanese company bought the rights to all Asia-based stores in 1983; however, only one location remains in the U.S. (in Godfrey, Illinois). Most Mister Donuts converted into Dunkin’ Donuts after both companies were acquired in 1990 by DD’s former parent company Allied-Lyons.
Dunkin’ Brands’ (formerly known as Allied Domecq Quick Service Restaurants until 2004) subsidiaries include Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins, and Mister Donut. Up until 2007, Dunkin Brands also owned Togo’s, a sandwich chain that still operates in countless locations on the West coast.
Back in the day, doughnuts were cut by hand, which resulted in plenty of holes. (Now, modern machinery dispenses just the rings of dough and the holes are made separately.) When Dunkin Donuts started selling their donut holes in 1972, they named them “Munchkins” after the Wizard of Oz characters. The company marketed the holes to kids while the grownups went for the whole donuts.
While you can no longer buy a single Munchkin—those mini donut balls which arrived on DD menus in 1972—the minimum varies from store to store. While DD hasn’t given an official reason, local workers report online that it’s because it doesn’t make economical sense to sell only one. It requires the same time and effort to sell you five as it does to sell you one and holding up a line for a sale that’s around $0.20 doesn’t make much sense.
Every year, Dunkin’ Donuts sells about 1.9 billion cups of hot and iced coffee globally, and there are over 15,000 different ways to order your coffee. Yes, 15,000! That’s thanks to their wide variety of (for better or worse…) syrups, shots, and sweeteners. On that note, you can save 50-60 calories from your coffee by drinking their medium coffee with whole milk instead of cream. P.S. – Coffee creamer is actually #9 on our list of 75 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet!
Hate the taste of burnt coffee? So do we. And so does Dunkin. According to DD, the chain’s coffee is freshly ground, freshly brewed, most importantly, freshly served. “If not used within 18 minutes, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is discarded and a new carafe is freshly brewed.”
Inflation is no surprise and we aren’t going to get too mad at DD for the price hikes. But back when the chain first opened in 1950, a cup of coffee sold for just 10 cents. A dime was common for many other drinks (like ordering a Coke at a diner).
The brand has quality control testing experts that taste on average 200 cups of coffee a day to ensure the chain’s coffee meets its standards.
In response to the popularity (and elusiveness) of the quick-to-sell-out Cronut at Dominique Ansel Bakery in NYC, Dunkin’ Donuts launched their own croissant-donut crossover pastry in late 2014. It was initially meant to be a temporary item but because of its insane popularity—8.5 million were sold in the pastry’s first three months—it became a permanent menu item in the U.S. The product initially debuted in South Korea under the name “New York Pie Donuts” (pictured).
Dunkin’ Donuts is considered somewhat of a hot spot in Korea. There are nearly 1,000 stores, making it the chain’s largest international market and it’s actually more popular at night than they are by day. In Korea, patrons are also allowed to pick donuts themselves off shelves, cups are paper (not Styrofoam), and the most popular drink is a shot of espresso and hot water (called an Americano). They also sell salads and along with traditional donuts, like glazed, they have black rice doughnuts, jalapeno sausage pie doughnuts, a rice stick, and bubble tea lattes.
According to CEO Nigel Travis, about 60 percent of DD’s sales come from beverages: coffee, tea, iced coffee, and smoothies. Donuts, he says, are still a significant part of their menu and are growing—but their lower numbers are thought to be due to the fact that donuts are seen “as a treat, as a reward.” Speaking of, check out these 25 Genius Ways to Reward Yourself After Weight Loss!
Dunkin’ Donuts? More like Dumpin’ Donuts—but don’t worry, only from their name. In August 2017, Dunkin’ Brands unveiled a new location in Pasadena, California, but it had a major twist: the quick service restaurant was simply dubbed “Dunkin’.” The reason for the name change? Dunkin’ wants to be known for their coffee. They may be the number one donut retailer in the country, with over 100 flavors listed on their site, but they sell 30 cups of joe on average every second and beverages have been their main sell for awhile. In 2012, espressos, Dunkacinnos, sweet teas, and their two dozen other drinks accounted for 58% of all sales nationwide.
At certain test locations, Dunkin’ unveiled in July 2017 they would be cutting a large chunk of their beloved bagels and breakfast sandwiches, which means more room for mochas on the menu. “We can confirm that we are testing a streamlined menu emphasizing our signature beverages and food in a limited number of markets, including Providence,” Dunkin’ Donuts said in a statment to local news outlet WBZ-TV.
It sure is cheaper than your local Four Seasons! A New Jersey couple who say they constantly come to the chain and “hit the drive-thru sometimes twice a night” got married inside the Dunkin’ Donuts on Route 42 South in New Jersey. One of the co-owners gifted the newlyweds a basket of coffee and his-and-her mugs, boxes of doughnuts, and a Mega Millions lottery ticket. The store also promised to make them a donut cake when they celebrate their nuptials with a bigger celebration. Aww! To each their own, right?
Called DD Perks, Dunkin’ Donuts rewards card gives you five points for every dollar you spend. Every 200 points will get you a Reward Coupon for a free beverage. You also get a coupon for a free, any-size beverage when you enroll in the program and on your birthday. Find out 25 Places to Score Free Food on Your Birthday for more sweet deals at other places!
They may be a little late to the game, but hey, better late than never. In late 2016, the chain launched an on-the-go app that allows customers to access coupons, order, pay in advance, and skip lines in stores.
The last one, located in Florida, closed its doors in 2015; but it’s a little-known fact that they even existed! Starting in 1962, the chain opened diners in which you could get grilled items, fried fish, grits, hash browns, and sandwiches in a diner setting. And donuts and coffee, of course.
Dunkin’ has some pretty unique cup sizing compared to their competitors. Their “Medium” is a whopping 24 ounces (3 cups) while their “Small” is 16 ounces (or 2 cups). For reference, Starbucks’ equivalent of a medium, “Grande,” is 16 ounces and its small (“Tall”) is the standard 8 ounces. This information will certainly come in handy if you’re looking to indulge in a sweet treat but don’t want to go over your added sugar budget in just one coffee cup.
If you think an egg is an egg, surprisingly that’s not always correct—or maybe not surprisingly, given that we’re speaking in the context of fast food. Dunkin’ Donuts’ “fried egg” has a shocking number of non-egg ingredients in their eggs including: soybean oil, water, unmodified corn starch, salt, natural flavor, xanthan gum, cellulose gum, and citric acid. Cringe! Speaking of eggs, be sure to save our guide to 26 Things You Need to Know Before You Buy Your Next Carton of Eggs!
The chain started off in New England, so it’s fitting that it has a devoted following in the area. New Yorkers, however, don’t like to play second fiddle. The chain has more locations in New York’s five boroughs than Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Papa John’s combined. That’s around 600 stores in NYC alone!
We’re not saying noshing on a waist-expanding donut is a reason to travel. But if you fancy yourself a true connoisseur, make note of the fact that DD crafts a special donut that reflects the local cuisine and culture for each country it’s in.
The world’s largest Dunkin’ Donuts opened in Bangkok, Thailand in 1980. It has enough seating for 130 people!
There’s an exclusive donut club, and it’s mysteriously hard to get into: “The Dunkin’ Donuts Black Card has been around for several years, gifted on occasion to select fans in appreciation for their loyalty and passion for the brand,” Lindsay Cronin, a public relations senior manager at Dunkin’ Brands, told Business Insider. Celebrities and loyal fans, alike, have been gifted the card, but Dunkin’ hands them out to their discretion. As for the perks? Apparently, not much. Cronin explained, “The Dunkin’ Donuts Black Card is not any kind of formal program, but rather a personalized, rechargeable gift card that Dunkin’ Donuts occasionally sends to guests as a token of appreciation.” So you still have to pay for your doughnut and coffee, sorry.
Download the Doordash mobile app and order delivery on the go. Better yet, it’s free from select locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn with an estimated delivery time of about 45 minutes. The service is being rolled out into other cities including Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Dallas.
Believe it or not but nearly everything on DD’s menu is customizable based on your preferences. From your type of bread (for example you can opt for a croissant or bagel instead of an English muffin), sandwich additions (like eggs, cheese or bacon), and you can also swap out Flavor Swirls (which are pre-sweetened) with Flavor Shots, which are unsweetened and sugar-free.
Dunkin’ finally jumped on the cold brew trend with its offering of these smooth, velvety beverage. Dunkin’ steeps 100% Arabica beans in cold water for 12 hours to slowly extract all the flavor into this velvety brew. If you’d like to try it, we’d recommend you opt with the original over the Sweet & Salted flavor, which contains a whopping 28 grams of sugar in the medium, 24-fl oz serving. If you’re looking to take your cold brew on the go, you won’t want to miss our round-up of The 15 Best & Worst Cold Brew Coffees.