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    Dunkin' Donuts Aims for Relaxation in New Store Design

    NEW YORK – Dunkin' Donuts is planning to entice customers to stick around and enjoy their coffee and doughnuts through a new café-style store design that features earth tones in the décor and a jazz soundtrack, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek report.

    The Canton, Mass.-based chain's previous view was that "life finished" at 11 a.m. "We've attacked that mindset with the redesign to help capture the afternoon customer," CEO Nigel Travis told the news outlet. "We haven't always been conducive to that relaxed environment. So, soft seating, the ability to watch TV, to listen to appropriate music and just do things slightly slower than you would in the morning is what we think we've been missing."

    Dunkin' isn't the only chain to make image adjustments in recent times. Wendy's is adding flatscreen TVs, fireplaces and cushioned seating to its restaurants, while Starbucks Corp. plans to renovate approximately 1,400 U.S. locations by the end of September and spend around two-thirds of its $1.2-billion capital expenditure budget on refurbishing and improving stores.

    But Dunkin' may have further to go in customers' eyes. In a 2012 survey by Nation's Restaurant News and WD Partners, the chain tied for the second-lowest atmosphere score among beverage and snack shops.

    To date, approximately 90 new café-style Dunkin' stores have opened, and the chain plans to have up to 600 by the end of the year. Franchisees can choose from four options, which cost between $175,000 and $250,000 for a remodel, and between $400,000 and $700,000 for a new build, according to the report. The higher-end selections include stained-poplar rails, faux-leather chairs and glass partitions with customizable color-changing LED lights inside.

    Four color schemes are also available, with titles such as Dark Roast and Cappuccino Blend. Jazz Brew, the most expensive color scheme, has dark orange and brown booth seating, hanging light fixtures with a soft glow, and printed wall murals featuring words like "break," "fresh" and "quality."

    Many franchise owners are volunteering to remodel their stores, Travis said. Dunkin' Donuts franchisees are required to remodel their stores at least once every 10 years, the report noted. Additionally, more than 1,000 stores are adding digital menu boards.

    Dunkin’ Donuts is a division of Dunkin Brands Group, which also owns Baskin-Robbins.

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