CANTON, MASS. — Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. and its Dunkin’ Donuts brand are betting big on convenience.
According to an Aug. 31 article in The Wall Street Journal, the Canton-based company plans to invest approximately $100 million to improve its ability to serve customers who order on mobile devices.
As part of the effort, the company will unveil 50 test stores this year that will feature dedicated pickup areas, digital kiosks and expanded drive-thru windows that prioritize orders via the company’s mobile app.
“We believe this is a unique chapter in our brand’s history,” Katherine Jaspon, chief financial officer at Dunkin’ Brands, told the WSJ’s CFO Journal. “Which is why we are contributing significant capital alongside our franchisees for the first time.”
The WSJ noted that more than half of Dunkin’s $100 million investment will be allocated to store equipment and improvements to the company’s on-the-go beverage strategy. The rest of the investment will go toward technology infrastructure and training.
Dunkin’ unveiled its first next-generation concept store in Quincy, Mass., in January. The restaurant features new technologies and design elements that offer customers “the first look at the brand’s U.S. store of the future experience,” the company said.
The 2,200-square-foot location features a modern design that uses lighter colored materials, an open layout and natural light. In the new restaurant, Dunkin’s cold beverages are served through a tap system, with eight options including coffees, iced teas, cold-brew coffee and nitro-infused cold-brew coffee. The kitchen includes espresso machines so beverages may be made to order. A single-cup machine also will offer the option of grinding and brewing select coffee varieties one cup at a time.
Additionally, the Quincy concept features an expanded, custom grab-and-go unit featuring bottled beverages and snacks that complement the Dunkin’ menu, the company said. The section includes better-for-you options such as bananas, mini oranges and grapes, Gogo Squeez apple sauce, Yoplait yogurt parfaits featuring Nature Valley granola, and other packaged snacks such as beef jerky and nut butter packs.
Dunkin’s Quincy store also features an exclusive drive-thru lane for DD Perks members who order ahead via Dunkin’s mobile app. These customers may bypass the ordering lane and merge straight into the line for the pickup window.
In addition to the test stores, Dunkin’ has hired personnel as part of its commitment to its digital initiative. In May, Stephanie Meltzer-Paul joined Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. as vice-president of digital and loyalty marketing. In her new role, Ms. Meltzer-Paul will lead the further development of the brand’s DD Perks loyalty platform, continue the expansion of on-the-go mobile ordering and strengthen the brand’s strategic partnerships.
The company also this week announced that its DD Perks members can now place a mobile order for Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, beverages, baked foods and breakfast sandwiches on an Alexa-enabled device. Customers who use Alexa, which is Amazon’s cloud-based voice service, will be able to bypass the normal line to pick up their order.