Dunkin' Donuts heads west, but not to California
To the disappointment of local fans who for months have predicted the return of the pink-and-orange stores, the chain’s current expansion plans stop in New Mexico.
“As we expand our footprint across the U.S., it will be part of our strategy, but for now, we don’t have a time set for California,” said John Dawson, chief development officer for Dunkin’ Brands. “But when we enter, we’re going to enter strong, and it’ll be something very few people will miss.”
Dunkin’s successful initial public offering in July had analysts suspecting that the chain was positioning itself toward the Pacific. This month, the Massachusetts company said it is recruiting franchisees as far west as Albuquerque and Santa Fe, N.M., set to open in early 2013.
The chain already has branches in Las Vegas and in Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona. Half of Dunkin’s restaurants -- about 3,500 locations -- are outside what the company calls its “fortress markets” of New England and New York.
“Our strategy has been to develop in a disciplined, contiguous direction,” Dawson said. “We’re growing west and filling in the landscape.”
But for now, that doesn’t include California, despite recent reports to the contrary. That’s bound to crush locals who took to Yelp last month to say they were “thrilled” at the prospect of a local Dunkin’.
So for now, California has to settle for being the top state for sales of Dunkin’s branded bagged coffee, which is sold in grocery stores. The chain also owns dozens of Baskin-Robbins ice cream stores in the state.
How badly do Californians want it? Check out this Bayside resident, who drove to Phoenix to satisfy his craving -- unsuccessfully.
-- Tiffany Hsu
Photo: Dunkin' Donuts in California? Dream on. Credit: Toby Talbot / Associated Press