- Quick-service restaurant chain Dunkin' Donuts is testing a rebranding with a single-storefront test in Pasadena, CA, where the outlet is named simply "Dunkin'," per Fortune.
- An impetus for the possible change for the entire chain is a desire to become more associated with selling coffee according to CBS, although the chain would still feature donuts as well.
- The change would be fairly subtle, and a statement from the company reported by CBS pointed out it has been using just Dunkin' in its advertising for more than the last 10 years. A final decision about the potential rebranding would happen late next year when the chain begins redesigning its stores.
Quick-service chains like Dunkin' Donuts that have been around for decades are under a lot of pressure to position themselves for a younger generation of consumers whose food tastes are different compared to previous generations as they seek out more fresh and otherwise healthier options. One thing millennials do have a penchant for, though, is coffee. Dunkin' Donuts has focused on boosting its coffee offerings by offering sustainably harvested coffee and expanding its menu with an array of higher-end items like espresso. By rebranding and dropping "donuts" from its name, this would enable the chain to better position itself as a coffee option as it competes against Starbucks.
During the second quarter, Dunkin' Donuts locations in the U.S. experienced a 2.2% growth in revenues, with higher average ticket amounts partially offsetting a drop in customer counts. CEO Nigel Travis said in a statement about its most-recent earnings report that the company is making progress in transforming the brand in the U.S. into a beverage-led, on-the-go brand.
QSR chains have spent several years revamping their go-to-market strategy with a stronger emphasis on digital technology as a way to better connect with younger consumers. Dunkin' Donuts has been one of the leaders on this front, launching a successful digital loyalty program and being active across a number of different platforms, including iMessage, Twitter and others. Rebranding to Dunkin' streamlines the name, possibly to appeal to multi-tasking digitally-savvy consumers — something other QSR chains have done like when Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC.
As Dunkin' Donuts' statement pointed out, the rebrand, if it ends up becoming implemented company-wide, would actually bring the official company name more inline with how it has been presented in the long-running marketing campaign “America Runs on Dunkin.’”
Companies rebrand for a number of reasons in a number of different ways. Sometimes a rebranding just revamps the company logo and maybe the look and feel of marketing assets such as the website and app similar to what Uber rolled out early last year. Last month Subway launched its “Fresh Forward” initiative that doesn’t change the company name or logo, but does involve a complete overhaul of its restaurants and customer experience. And Lee Jeans rebranded last September with website redesign and new in-store experience.