Dunkin’ Ditches “Donuts”

Published on October 10, 2018, at 3:21 p.m.
by Gillian Castro.

A well-known coffee shop is joining the long list of companies engaging in brand and name changes. Starting in January 2019, Dunkin’ Donuts will officially lose the latter half of its name and “be on a first-name basis with America.”

photo via Rachel Lees on Unspalsh

The name change is part of the company’s move toward being a beverage-based brand. While the store will only be dropping donuts from its name and not its menu, it will be placing a bigger emphasis on drinks with the addition of new beverage menu items.

Although the name change may seem simple and convenient for those who have always referred to the chain by only its first name, not everyone feels as positive about the change. One Twitter user said, “Lazy Millennials finding it extremely difficult to pronounce or text extra syllables, Dunkin’ Donuts will now be known as Dunkin’. Keeping to the trend we will now buy burgers at King eat tacos from Bell buy tires from Mr. buy carpet at Barn and mattresses at Warehouse.”

Some are blaming millennials for the “text language” being the driving factor behind the change. Others are noting that Dunkin’ is dismissing a major part of its history and ignoring what the company itself made famous.

Before the famous Northeast chain made its arrival in the 1950s, America’s favorite breakfast pastry held a different spelling than what we are used to seeing today. Dunkin’ broke free from the AP Style rules that we’ve come to love and coined the new spelling of “donut” as its own. Prior to the brand’s opening, coffee lovers would have to get their morning drink with a doughnut on the side.

The age of texting, acronyms and simplicty plays a big part in Dunkin’ and similar companies going through name changes in an effort to rebrand and reintroduce themselves to their consumers. While some are met with disapproval because of their lack of directness and clarity, such as the syllables doubled in the new name for Weight Watchers, there are a number of reasons the Dunkin’ rebrand should not be considered unsuccessful.

First, the majority of Americans who have referenced the chain before have referred to it as simply Dunkin’ at least once. For instance, take the brand’s well-known slogan “America Runs on Dunkin’.” This famous slogan has been a part of the company’s brand since 2006, and in it there is no mention of donuts being part of what fuels America. The eradication of a two-word name provides consumers with a more efficient title for the company while still retaining the meaning and originality behind that name.

photo via Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Additionally, while Dunkin’ is becoming a brand with emphasis on beverages, there will be very few items eliminated from the menu. By dropping the “donuts” from the company name, loyal customers are fearing that a popular item that they know and love will be removed from the menu; however, this is not the case. Doughnuts will not be leaving Dunkin’. Instead, a number of drinks will be added to give consumers more variety in their daily breakfast choices.

While the brand is losing a part of its name, it will make up for it through additions to all its new stores. Starting in January 2019, Dunkin’ will focus on becoming a “store of the future.” New store designs, new drinks and new digital ordering kiosks will be added to improve the customer experience. (link 6) The new stores were tested in about 50 locations across Massachusetts this year. As a loyal Dunkin’ fan who has never referred to the brand by its full name, the change cannot come soon enough.

With all the improvements set for the brand, Dunkin’ fans have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming months. Change doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and when America’s on a first-name basis with this beloved brand, that seems positive for coffee lovers everywhere.

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