From now on moving forward, it will just be Dunkin’. The Canton-based Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. announced Tuesday that its flagship Dunkin’ Donuts chain will officially drop “Donuts” from the starting January 1, NBC4 reports.
The change has been brewing for a while. Dunkin’ began testing the shorter name at a Quincy location eight months ago, and the company now says its focus is on “serving great coffee fast.”
“Our new branding is one of many things we are doing as part of our blueprint for growth to modernize the Dunkin’ experience for our customers,” Dunkin’ Brands Chief Executive David Hoffmann said in a statement.
Dunkin’ restaurants will continue to sell doughnuts, and the new logo will maintain the brand’s distinctive font and orange-pink color scheme.
With doughnuts no longer the center of the business, rebranding makes sense. This is the narrative that Harry Chapin, chief executive of the Boston marketing firm Forge Worldwide, believes. He said that with the changes, the company will be able to expand its market reach.
“In today’s world, unless you’re artisanal or craft doughnuts, I can’t see that market blowing up,” Chapin said. “They’re probably going and saying that, you know, ‘Our best future and our most profitable part of the business is the beverage part of the business. The name Donuts doesn’t really help us get there.”
He added, “So that, to me, is the grounding of the business strategy.”
Other companies have similarly cut specific products from their brand names. Starbucks removed “Coffee” in 2011.
“Even though we have been, and always will be, a coffee company and retailer, it’s possible we’ll have other products with our name on it and no coffee in it,” Chief Executive Howard Schultz said at the time.
After years of telling customers in a jingle that “we’re more than great coats,” Burlington Coat Factory rebranded as Burlington Stores when it went public in 2013.
Dunkin’ said in a news release that its “new branding will appear on packaging, as well as the company’s advertising, website and social channels.”
Starting in 2019, Dunkin’ will begin appearing on napkins, boxes, and signs at all of the chain’s U.S. stores. The new name is expected to migrate over to international outposts at a later date, and will eventually appear at the more than 12,500 restaurants Dunkin’ operates globally.
This is reportedly part of a larger initiative, which also includes new drinks and digital kiosks, to make the restaurant more appealing to younger customers.
The Massachusetts-based business will also reportedly roll out a new logo to go with its new name, but the signage will not necessarily be a shock for customers. That is because it is expected to use the familiar rounded font and orange-and-pink color scheme that the company has employed since 1973.
When speculation first arose that Dunkin’ was altering its name, a spokesperson for the company told the media that it had not committed to any formal changes. “Dunkin’ Donuts has been testing signage in a few locations across the country that refers to the brand simply as ‘Dunkin.’ We do not plan to make any decisions regarding the branding until later this year.”
Still, despite the warning consumers had that a name change might be afoot, not everyone on social media is embracing Dunkin’ Donuts sans “Donuts.”
Hoffmann emphasized that the shift was about the chain’s broader growth strategy to sell beverages — primarily coffee — to people on the go. He called the move “a significant milestone” in that journey.
“There’s kind of a humanness to it and opens it up to not just being about doughnuts and probably not just about coffee,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with Dunkin’ meaning more than just dunking into a cup of coffee, any more than I’d have a problem with Crate & Barrel selling things that aren’t crates and barrels.”