Dunkin' of the Future

Chain opens second prototype unit

CANTON, Mass. -- Dunkin' Brands is set to unveil a prototype store with an overhauled look and expanded menu, according to Crain's Cleveland Business.

The store is the 35th in Cleveland, said the report, but only the company's second prototype, following last November's opening of a similar store in Pawtucket, R.I.

This is the Dunkin' of the future, Randy Brashier, vice president of new concept development, told the newspaper.

With Dunkin' aiming to open 90 stores in Ohio over the next few years, Brashier [image-nocss] said Cleveland represents an ideal test market for the prototype store. We're in a lot of different venues here, he said, noting the shop's presence in places such as gas stations and convenience stores as well as standalone restaurants. The history of Dunkin' Donuts in this area has given us a lot of confidence in this prototype. It's a market that's perfect for us.

While the breakfast menu also is getting some new additions such as breakfast pizza and biscuit-wrapped sausage links, the big changes come when the menu board flips to its afternoon offerings, said the report. Customers will find bite-size pastries with fillings such as BBQ pork, spinach and cheese and taco.

Stan Frankenthaler, Dunkin's Brands executive chef, said the new items began first and foremost as an extension of Dunkin's strengths. If we surround these fillings with a really great doughthat really speaks to a quality baking tradition, he told the paper. What went inside them came second.

The 1,900-sq.-ft. store's architecture also is a departure from Dunkin's Donuts traditionally utilitarian layouts. The open floor plan offers a view of the kitchen and ovens, evoking what Dunkin' director of concept development Jimmy Fitzgerald calls a big industrial bakery feel. And the eating area is designed to feel more like a casual coffee place than a fast-food restaurant.

Brashier, though, said there is more driving this effort than the proliferation of coffee-and-pastry places such as Starbucks. We understand the competitive landscape very well, he said. It's time to expand.