30 Things You Don’t Know About Dunkin’ Donuts
They say America runs on Dunkin’, which appears to be a fairly accurate statement when you consider there are more than 11,000 Dunkin’ Donuts locations worldwide 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 millions 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!
Dunkin’ wasn’t always Dunkin’.
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.
An architect came up with the name.
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.
Dunkin was briefly British—and then French—owned.
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 U.S. private equity firms. Dunkin’ Brands has been completely independent of the three previous private equity owners since 2012.
Dunkin’s rival had family ties.
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’ Donuts is part of a larger brand consortium.
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 locations on the West coast.
Yes, munchkins are named after what you think.
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.
You can’t buy single munchkins.
Those mini donut balls, arrived on DD menus in 1972, but no, you can’t buy just one. While the minimum varies from store to store, it’s been reported that customers need to spend a minimum of one dollar, and four munchkins is the least amount you can walk out of the shop with.
There’s major variety.
Every year, Dunkin’ Donuts sells about 1.9 billion cups of hot and iced coffee globally, and there are more than 15,000 different ways to order your coffee. Yes, 15,000! That’s thanks to their wide variety of syrups, shots, and sweeteners.
Trust you’ll get a fresh cup.
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, and most importantly, freshly served. “If not used within 18 minutes, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is discarded and a new carafe is freshly brewed.”
You once were able to get a coffee for just a dime.
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 coffee quality control is impressive.
The brand has quality control testing experts who taste on average 200 cups of coffee a day to ensure the chain’s coffee meets its standards.
The chain’s version of the Cronut was only supposed to be temporary.
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).
The chain is super popular in Korea.
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.
Dunkin’ Donuts sells more coffee than donuts.
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.”
Dunkin’ dropped half their name.
Dunkin’ Donuts? More like Dumpin’ Donuts. 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 as an all-day spot you can go to, not just for your morning cup of coffee. They may be the number one donut retailer in the country, with over 100 flavors listed on their site, but they sell 60 cups of joe on average every second, and in 2018, they officially rebranded as just Dunkin’.
Their menu got a major refresh over the years.
Bye-bye complicated foods, hello more coffee combinations to try. This year, DD is cutting 10% of its menu in an effort to streamline your DD experience and help make your order more accurate, according to the Boston Herald. This includes things like smoothies, sandwiches, flatbreads, and other items, so you’ll want to get them before they’re gone!
People have gotten married inside a Dunkin’ Donuts.
It sure is cheaper than your local Four Seasons! A New Jersey couple who say they constantly went 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?
There was once a Dunkin’ Donuts diner.
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.
They sell millions of donuts every year.
While coffee is clearly the heart and soul of the franchise, their donuts are just as important. DD sells around 2.9 billion donuts and munchkins globally each year. That’s a whole lot of sweet treats!
The donuts actually underwent a makeover.
You most likely didn’t even realize this, but we promise, it’s all for the good! All of the donuts sold at DD locations nationwide are now made with colors from natural ingredients. Nothing artificial here!
Rather than eggs, they use “eggs.”
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.
New Yorkers love Dunkin’ Donuts.
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. There are more than around 600 stores in NYC alone!
Each country has their own donut.
We’re not saying noshing on a 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.
They have a loyalty program.
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.
There’s a way you can skip the line.
They may have been 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.
A DD black card does exist.
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 at 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.”
You can get their coffee at home.
Products range from DIY Cold Brew Coffee Packs, to bottled iced coffee, to K-cups, to the beans themselves. Just check your local grocery store and stock up on your favorites—no more waiting in line at DD in the morning!
Dunkin’ Donuts delivers in certain places.
If you really don’t want to leave home without coffee, in certain states you can order DD right to your front door. You can download the Doordash mobile app and order delivery (there’s an estimated delivery time of about 45 minutes). The service is available in certain cities and towns in states like Massachusetts, Florida, New York, and New Jersey, among others.
Everything on the menu is made to be customized.
Believe it or not, but nearly everything on DD’s menu is customizable based on your preferences. You can choose the type of bread (for example, you can opt for a croissant or bagel instead of an English muffin), the sandwich additions (like eggs, cheese, or bacon), and the Flavor Swirls (which are pre-sweetened) with Flavor Shots, which are unsweetened and sugar-free.
It might not be as well-known, but you can get cold brew at DD.
Dunkin’ finally jumped on the cold brew trend with its offering of this smooth, velvety beverage. Dunkin’ steeps 100% Arabica beans in cold water for 12 hours to slowly extract all the flavor into this velvety brew.