CANTON, MASS. — A partnership with Beyond Meat, Inc. and the launch of signature lattes contributed to sales growth at Dunkin’ restaurants in the recent quarter. Looking ahead, executives of parent company Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. expect the introduction of a non-dairy oat milk latte to drive continued momentum.
“A key pillar within our blueprint for growth strategy is centered around beverage leadership, food innovation and consistent value,” said David L. Hoffmann, chief executive officer of Dunkin’ Brands Group, during a Feb. 6 earnings call. “These three areas worked hard for us in 2019, driving 2.8% comparable store sales growth in the fourth quarter, the highest quarterly comp in six years, and driving our full-year comp to the highest point in seven years.”
The national roll-out of the Beyond Sausage breakfast sandwich, featuring a plant-based patty developed by Beyond Meat, generated “tremendous media buzz, supporting high consumer trial and repurchase rates,” Mr. Hoffmann said.
“It attached well with premium-priced cold brew and espresso beverages, delivering an average check north of $9. It also reached a new consumer and drove incremental occasions for existing guests,” he added.
Espresso beverage sales grew by nearly 40% year-over-year and represent approximately 10% of the brand’s sales mix, he said.
The company plans to invest approximately $60 million in new coffee brewing equipment for all Dunkin’ U.S. restaurants. The high-volume brewers will enable the company to expand its variety of drip coffee blends, increase operational efficiencies, reduce waste and enhance quality and consistency, said Scott Murphy, president of Dunkin’ Americas.
For the fiscal year ended Dec. 28, 2019, Dunkin’ Brands net income was $242,024,000, equal to $2.92 per share on the common stock, up from $229,906,000, or $2.75 per share, in the prior year. Revenues totaled $1,370,227,000, up 3.7% from $1,321,617,000.
Fourth-quarter net income was $57,714,000, equal to 70c per share, up from $53,189,000, or 64c, in the comparable period. Revenues for the quarter advanced 5% to $335,917,000 from $319,624,000 the year before.
Comparable store sales at Dunkin’ U.S. grew 2.1% for the year and 2.8% for the quarter, while comparable store sales at sister brand Baskin-Robbins U.S. increased 0.8% for the year and 4.1% for the quarter.
“Performance was led by cups and cones, and was supported by our great flavors, including the introduction of our first non-dairy and vegan-friendly coffee caramel chunk as our November flavor of the month,” Mr. Hoffmann said. “For the full year, Baskin posted its best annual comparable store sales growth since 2015.”
The company also is seeing success beyond its restaurant walls with Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins branded consumer packaged goods in grocery stores and other retail outlets, Mr. Murphy said.
“Our total C.P.G. portfolio across both brands delivered approximately $940 million in retail sales last year (sales figure not directly attributable to Dunkin'), including more than $150 million in ready-to-drink bottled iced coffee according to I.R.I. (Information Resources, Inc.),” Mr. Murphy said. “Dunkin’ K-Cups continue to outpace the category, growing more than 7%. Dunkin’ recently surpassed Maxwell House and is now the No. 3 coffee brand across U.S. retail, with our packaged coffee and K-Cups now representing nearly 8% of the total coffee category.”