The wait for the first Dunkin’ Donuts in Los Angeles is finally over, as the first location has opened in Santa Monica
Dunkin Donuts is expanding to ensure all of America truly runs on them.
In 2013, East Coast giant Dunkin’ Donuts announced that they would be expanding their current fleet of nearly 10,000 stores by opening roughly 400 new shops throughout the country over the next few years. When over 100 of those new stores were announced for California, the Los Angeles natives’ excitement was palpable.
Unfortunately, many city-dwellers have had to wait for their Dunkin’ fix, as the first branch launched in Barstow, California, a full two-hour drive from L.A. Some have braved the trip, but most have waited anxiously for a store to open a little bit closer to home. On Tuesday, September 2, Angelenos finally got their wish as the first Los Angeles Dunkin’ Donuts opened at 5 a.m. in Santa Monica. Eager to make a splash, Dunkin’ officials handed out fully loaded DD swag bags to the first 100 people in line, and an incredible year of free coffee to lucky number one. For those who are still too far away, fear not: with many more stores coming soon, Dunkin’ Donuts is seems determined to make sure that all the whole country “Runs on Dunkin’.”
Dunkin' Donuts to Open 1,000 Locations in California
This summer, Dunkin' Donuts embarks upon a plan to open up to 1,000 new storefronts in California. Its first major foray into the state, the expansion has been a year in the making. Several large franchisees have partnered with the company to break ground on 54 new stores this year alone. Agreements have been signed for 200 units, and based on early franchisee interest, the company says it is on track to open 1,000 units — some larger than others — in the Golden State.
Among the new units will be the first full-service restaurant-style Dunkin' Donuts in the nation, reports CNBC. These larger doughnut shops will serve more than just coffee and fritters. The menus, meant to service patrons morning through night, will offer the chain's first non-breakfast savory sandwich options. But whatever you do, don't consider them "lunch" — they're meant for snacking, as Dunkin's CEO Nigel Travis told CNBC: "We're not moving into lunch. We're in snacking. We never talk about lunch."
Dunkin’ Donuts opens in Encino to long lines
They started camping out over the weekend, and by 5 a.m. on a rare rainy Tuesday, a line of 150 hungry fans stretched north along the 4800 block of Balboa Boulevard in Encino eagerly awaiting the opening of the first Dunkin’ Donuts store in the San Fernando Valley.
It will be the first of 10 Dunkin’ Donuts planned for the Valley, said Aharon Aminpour, owner of Los Angeles-based Madison Food Management and the franchisee.
The line remained long throughout the morning despite a gentle rain that fell periodically.
“We’ve had a great reception. People are saying this is going to be their neighborhood staple,” said a grinning Aminpour, who arrived at the store at 2 a.m. Tuesday to help with the opening.
He estimated the store would sell or give away 1,000 dozen doughnuts by the end of Tuesday. The doughnuts are baked in Inglewood and shipped to the six Dunkin’ Donuts shops in the Los Angeles area. The stores also sell breakfast and lunch items in addition to the baked goods.
Opening a Dunkin’ Donuts takes an investment of between $500,000 and $1 million, and his store has 75 employees because it’s open from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. seven days a week, Aminpour said.
The location, in a small strip mall adjacent to a Smart & Final that fronts Ventura Boulevard, is on the 𠇊.m.” side of the street, he said.
Nearly 50,000 motorists will pass the store each day while on their way to and from work via the Ventura Freeway, according to a study Aminpour commissioned while looking for a location.
If they are too busy to stop while going to work, they might have time on their way back home, Aminpour said.
The store’s opening made a happy man out of Vahid Khorsand. It’s either a 2-minute drive or a 10-minute walk from his Encino home to the doughnut shop, he said.
Better still, the store is across the street from the Encino Chamber of Commerce, and Khorsand, who is active in the community and serves on various boards, said it will become his place for meeting people associated with those activities.
For Damian Elkington of Reseda, this would be his first Dunkin’ doughnut, so he’s checked out a bakers’ menu while patiently waiting in line. And he had it on good authority it would be worth the wait.
“I’m excited about this opening. I had a friend who went to school in Boston, and he said (Dunkin’ Donuts) are a staple there,” he said.
Dunkin’ Donuts accelerates California expansion
Alyssa Batey fills a box with doughnuts at the Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin-Robbins store in San Diego adjacent to an Embassy Suites across from Seaport Village. The company has plans for 1,000 new locations in California.
Two groups will develop a combined 20 sites in south Orange County and the San Fernando Valley.
Dunkin&rsquo Donuts has accelerated its expansion in California, announcing plans Tuesday to open at least five doughnut shops by the end of the year.
The first locations were initially expected to open in 2015. However, Dunkin&rsquo said shops in Downey, Long Beach, Santa Monica, Modesto and Whittier will likely open before the end of 2014.
&ldquoToday&rsquos announcement of the locations of our first new traditional Dunkin&rsquo Donuts restaurants represents development that is ahead of schedule due to the strong interest of prospective franchisees and consumers across the state,&rdquo said Paul Twohig, president of Dunkin&rsquo Donuts in the U.S. and Canada.
Since announcing its West Coast comeback, Dunkin&rsquo has opened three shops in San Diego, Barstow and Camp Pendleton. But those stores are considered non-traditional, opening inside a hotel, a tourist center and a military base.
The five California locations, including Long Beach, will be the first traditional &ndash free-standing or retail center &ndash shops to open in the state, Dunkin&rsquo officials said Tuesday.
The East Coast company is also stepping up franchise agreements in California, where 1,000 locations are planned. Nearly 200 are now in the works for the Greater Los Angeles area. Many will have drive-through lanes and will be open 24 hours. Their competitors will range from family-run doughnut shops to Starbucks, analysts have said.
Of the five locations expected to open first, Long Beach has earned the biggest buzz.
The Seventh Street store is taking over a closed coffee shop that is home to a 15-foot doughnut marquee &ndash an architectural icon with sentimental support in the city. At one point, the 60-year-old sign was slated for demolition. Facing protests, Dan Almquist, managing partner with Newport Beach-based Frontier Restaurant Group, said he would include the sign into the Dunkin&rsquo design at 5560 E. 7th St.
Other Los Angeles County locations are set for 9070 Firestone Blvd. in Downey and 1132 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica. The Wilshire location is less than a mile from one of the city&rsquos most popular mom-and-pop stores, DK&rsquos Donuts & Bakery.
Dunkin’ Donuts to expand in California
East Coast staple Dunkin’ Donuts is starting its California expansion with five stores opening by year’s end.
Beginning this fall, the purveyor of everything breakfast will debut locations in Santa Monica, Long Beach, Whittier, Downey and Modesto.
Those new spots will kick off an aggressive push by the Canton, Mass., company into the Golden State. Dunkin’ plans to open nearly 200 stores in California through franchisees within a few years and eventually 1,000 locations throughout the state.
“We think California has the potential to be a very big market,” said John Costello, president of global marketing and innovation at Dunkin’ Brands Inc. “Our research shows that California residents love coffee.”
This is not the company’s first spin into California. It had about a dozen shops in the state before pulling out in the late 1990s. It staged a short-lived comeback in Sacramento in 2002.
The company has three nontraditional locations open in California: at Camp Pendleton, the Embassy Suites San Diego Bay Downtown and the Barstow Station railroad-theme stop next to Interstate 15.
Dunkin’ has focused its marketing to expand its name recognition and emphasize that the brand serves more than doughnuts, industry watchers say. That positions the company nicely for another go in California, despite the heavy presence of coffee and breakfast options already in the state.
The company will have to compete in the fast-growing breakfast category in a state already thick with competitors such as Starbucks Corp. and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Fast-food rivals such as McDonald’s Corp. and Taco Bell Corp. have also been pushing early-morning offerings for workers and students on the go.
Visits for restaurant morning meals grew 3% in 2013, while traffic fell for the lunch and dinner categories, according to research firm NPD.
“Breakfast is the only segment within fast food that is really growing at the moment,” said Andy Brennan, an industry analyst at IBISWorld. “People are a lot busier, incomes are rising and people are willing to spend a bit more on breakfast.”
Experts say Dunkin’ is well poised to woo diners who want a grab-and-go option but want to spend less than they would at Starbucks or many independent cafes.
“It’s what I call more of an everyman brand, as opposed to perhaps Starbucks having a more aspirational brand concept around it,” said Sharon Zackfia, an analyst at William Blair & Co.
Costello described Dunkin’ diners as “authentic.”
Our customers are “down-to-earth, real people who are proud they have real things to do,” he said.
Dunkin' Donuts Opens Its First L.A. Location
Going back to work after the Labor Day weekend just got a little easier, at least for Dunkin' Donuts fans who live in or near Santa Monica. Well, easier if you want to spend your early morning lining up with doughnut lovers badly in need of caffeine.
The first Dunkin' Donuts in Southern California will officially open its doors at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at their new Santa Monica location, at 1132 Wilshire Blvd. Pink carpet. Mascots. A “special California-inspired donut.” Welcome to Los Angeles.
For those of you who live for this sort of thing, note that the first 100 people in line will get swag (tote bag, etc.) and the very FIRST person in line will get free coffee for a year. Maybe just pretend its the Rose Parade and spend your day off on Wilshire in a lawn chair. Bring a thermos, since eventually you'll be able to refill it with Dunkin' Donuts' very best.
The Massachussetts-based company, which was founded in 1950 in Quincy, Mass., previously had restaurants in California but closed them in the 1990s. The Santa Monica restaurant is the first of a projected 1,000 new Dunkin' Donuts throughout the state the first 150 to 200 will be open, theoretically, by 2020.
“We’ve been asked to bring Dunkin’ Donuts back to Los Angeles for many years and we’re proud to announce that the first full expression restaurant is opening in Santa Monica ahead of schedule,” said Paul Twohig, President of Dunkin' Donuts US and Canada.
A “full expression” restaurant, in case you're wondering, is a free-standing shop which offers the chain's full menu of coffee, doughnuts, bakery sandwiches, etc. Such restaurants can also have a drive-thru component — although not this one. Sorry.
There are, if you're counting, three “non-traditional” Dunkin' Donuts shops already in California: a recent Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin-Robbins combination in a San Diego hotel and locations at Camp Pendleton and Barstow Station.
Next up are Dunkin' Donuts in Long Beach, Downey and Whittier, which are anticipated by the end of this year. The chain's first Northern California location opened in Modesto on Aug. 26.
Dunkin’ Donuts Returns to SoCal First Location Opens in Santa Monica
Coffee and doughnut lovers rejoice: Dunkin’ Donuts opened its first store in Southern California on Tuesday, marking the popular restaurant chain’s return to the state.
Fans lined up in Santa Monica for the Dunkin’ Donuts grand opening on Sept. 2, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)
Fans lined up overnight in anticipation of the Santa Monica location’s 5 a.m. grand opening.
The early morning events included a ribbon cutting ceremony, a pink carpet featuring the brand’s mascots and surprise giveaways, according to a news release from the company.
A special commemorative California-inspired doughnut to celebrate the opening was also available for purchase.
The first 100 people in line received a tote bag filled with special items from the chain, while the first person in line got a year’s worth of its famed coffee for free, the release stated.
Dunkin’ Donuts created a special doughnut for the grand opening of a new store in Santa Monica on Sept. 2, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)
A man who was the first to line up told KTLA he had been waiting outside the store since 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
“I’m originally from Connecticut, so I love Dunkin’ Donuts and I’m glad it’s in California now,” he said.
Dunkin’ Donuts previously operated about a dozen stores in California, but they were all shuttered by the late 1990s, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“We’ve been asked to bring Dunkin’ Donuts back to Los Angeles for many years and we’re proud to announce that the first full expression restaurant is opening in Santa Monica ahead of schedule,” said Paul Twohig, President of Dunkin’ Donuts in the U.S. and Canada. “We’re certain Dunkin’ Donuts will quickly become an integral part of Angelenos’ daily routine.”
Five stores are expected to open in the state by the end of the year, with 200 more expected in the next few years, according to the Times.
A Holey Tale
Then there’s the story of Hanson Gregory, a young sailor from Maine whose mother supposedly created the doughnut as a portable snack for her son to enjoy with his shipmates on long journeys. Legend has it that once Gregory became a sea captain, he invented the hole in the doughnut by piercing its center with a spoke of his captain’s wheel. As much as we may wish it to be true, Gregory revealed in an interview years later that the story about the hole was pure fiction.
However, another entertaining tale involving New England whaling ships in the 19 th century, is apparently accurate. In terms of ways to make a living, whaling could be quite lucrative, but it was also very dangerous. Once they harpooned a whale, the crew needed to make quick work of stripping the blubber and melting it down into oil in gigantic cauldrons, called trypots, on the deck of the ship. To keep them motivated, captains would reward their crew for every 1,000 barrels they produced with a big batch of doughnuts fried in—you guessed it—hot whale oil, which is said to smell very fishy. The crew gobbled them up, regardless.
Wilton Non-Stick Donut Baking Pans, 2 for $13.50 on Amazon
You can also bake your own doughnuts at home, no oil required (whale or otherwise).
5 things that make Dunkin’ Donuts’ next generation store in Corona different
Dunkin’ Donuts employees box fresh donuts during the grand opening of Dunkin’ Donuts the first West Coast “next generation concept store.” (Photo by James Carbone for the Southern California News Group.)
Dunkin’ Donuts beer-like tap for cold coffee beverages are ready for guests in Corona. (Photo by James Carbone for the Southern California News Group.)
Alexis Mills, 18, of Corona, right, serves customers during the grand opening of Dunkin’ Donuts in Corona. (Photo by James Carbone for the Southern California News Group.)
Grab and go shelves are a new feature at Dunkin’ Donuts in Corona. (Photo by James Carbone for the Southern California News Group.)
Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee Parag Patel has a moment with his daughter Aashna, 5, during the grand opening of his Corona store. (Photo by James Carbone for the Southern California News Group.)
The new Dunkin’ Donuts the first West Coast “next generation concept store” is now open at the corner of Ontario and Fullerton avenues in Corona. (Photo by James Carbone for the Southern California News Group.)
If you want to try Dunkin’ Donuts’ Nitro Coffee, the chain’s “next generation concept store” in Corona is the only place in Southern California to get it.
That’s what Dunkin’ Brands Group chief operating officer Scott Murphy said Thursday, March 22, at the store’s opening, surrounded by customers checking out the location’s new features.
Despite the threat of a major rainstorm, Murphy said more than 200 people were waiting for doors open at 4 a.m.
“It’s got a new decor, a new look — very bright to keep people energized,” said franchisee Parag Patel. “This is where the brand is going.”
This is Dunkin’ Donuts’ second concept store, its first on the West Coast, and a third coup for Patel. In 2016, he opened the chain’s 12,000th location, in the city of Riverside, and last summer he was honored as the company’s developer of the year.
The first concept store opened in January in Quincy, Massachusetts, near corporate headquarters in suburban Boston. Murphy said the company plans to open 50 throughout the United States this year.
Innovations are still being tweaked, but the Corona location has most of them.
Cold beverage tap system: Eight taps for cold brews resemble those for beers in sports bars and improve the customer experience, Murphy said.
“If you watch our crew members, they love doing this. Now you get to face forward to the customer while you’re doing it. It’s very fast. It’s very consistent. And we’re actually advertising products through the tap labels that people didn’t even know we have.”
Those products include Nitro, a cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen that was tested at a handful of locations last year but now is only poured in Quincy and Corona, Murphy said. It costs $3.85 a cup.
Ordering: Next to the taps, there’s a mobile order pickup station with an electronic board that shows status of on-the-go orders. “People can place their order in the car or at home, walk right in, pick up their order, and they’re on their way,” said Patel.
Customers can pick also up on-the-go orders in the drive-through, he said. But the Corona store does not have an express lane for mobile orders, unlike the Quincy store with its two-lane drive-through.
Corona will be adding in-store kiosks for customers to place their own orders.
Display: Corona’s pastry case is built into the counter instead of behind that counter as at other stores.
There is also a shelf for grab-and-go purchases such as travel mugs and ground coffee in the center of the room.
“We’re just experimenting. It’s just a little bit more modern representation of the brand.”
Signage: Like a store in Pasadena and a handful of other locations, the Corona location has simplified signage with double D’s over the door instead of the words Dunkin’ Donuts.
“We’re telling guests that we’re a beverage destination and we’re a sandwich destination,” said Patel. “We’re more than just doughnuts.”
The company has not made a final decision about “dropping the Donuts part,” Murphy said.
New uniforms: Designs are by Life is Good, a Boston clothing company that calls itself dedicated to spreading the power of optimism.
“It’s all centered around this idea of positive energy,” Murphy said. “It’s around, ‘Start me up,’ ‘Be positive,’Choose optimism’… I know that may sound a little goofy, but if you look around here, every crew member is happy. They’re shirts you would wear on the weekends. They’re not traditional polyester uniforms, if you know what I mean.”
Murphy added that he is passionate about team-building and that although uniforms may be a small part of the makeover to customers, but they’re a big deal to employees.
“It’s that little stuff that makes the difference. What I’m trying to do is make Dunkin’ the employer of choice.”
How sweet it is: Santa Monica opens doors to Dunkin’ Donuts
Johnny Hoops of North Hollywood, first in line at the new Dunkin' Donuts in Santa Monica, high-fives fellow customers during opening day Tuesday. Hoops got in line at 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
Doughnuts await the first customers on opening day at the new Dunkin' Donuts in Santa Monica.
Cheyann Dillon shows off her new mug during Tuesday.
Cheyann Dillon, left, of North Hollywood and Kyle Faticoni of Marina del Rey greet Cuppy the mascot at the new Dunkin' Donuts in Santa Monica on Tuesday.
Tyler Sims gathers doughnuts for customers Tuesday morning.
Justine Ezarik, center, and Jenna Ezarik, right, both of Santa Monica, are among the first customers of the new Dunkin' Donuts in Santa Monica.
Greg Cohen, second in line at the new Dunkin' Donuts in Santa Monica, celebrates as he rushes into the store on opening day Tuesday.
Doughnuts are carefully arranged at the new Dunkin' Donuts in Santa Monica. The store, at 1132 Wilshire Blvd., is the first full expression Dunkin' in Southern California.
Justine Ezarik, center in orange jacket, and Jenna Ezarik, right, both of Santa Monica, join Evan Lourenco of Sun Valley, far right, to get a good look inside the window before the new Dunkin Donuts opened at 5 a.m. Tuesday in Santa Monica.
Johnny Hoops, first in line at the new Dunkin' Donuts in Santa Monica, shows off his gift cards for a year's worth of free coffee during opening day Tuesday.
Customers wait in line outside the new Dunkin' Donuts in Santa Monica before the 5 a.m. opening Tuesday.
Gary Haar, owner of the new Dunkin' Donuts in Santa Monica, speaks to guests during opening day Tuesday.
Earl Tuzon of Santa Monica, center, and Briana Kissell, left, with Jeff Kerble, wearing Ds on their shirts, celebrate as the new Dunkin' Donuts prepares to open in Santa Monica at 5 a.m. Tuesday.
Greg Cohen, second in line at the new Dunkin' Donuts in Santa Monica, hugs Cuppy during opening day.
SANTA MONICA &ndash It&rsquos hard to pinpoint a single reason why people love Dunkin&rsquo Donuts. It could be the coffee, the doughnut flavors or just the East Coast nostalgia.
On Tuesday, more than 300 Dunkin&rsquo Donuts fans showed their appreciation for the chain by waiting &ndash some more than 24 hours &ndash for the 5 a.m. opening in Santa Monica. The launch was the first of a major expansion into Los Angeles.
The first in line, Johnny Hoops, had secured the coveted prize of free coffee for a year by camping out since 9:30 p.m. Sunday. The Burbank resident &ndash who grew up with Dunkin&rsquo in Conneticut &ndash decided to drive by to see how many people were there. When he saw it was clear, he knew he couldn&rsquot pass up the opportunity to be first.
He said the second person in line didn&rsquot get there until 11:30 a.m. Monday.
&ldquoI just love their coffee,&rdquo Hoops said. &ldquoI would do it again.&rdquo
There&rsquos been a lot of anticipation for the Santa Monica opening, with fans regularly stopping by to take photos with the signage, franchise owner Gary Haar told the Register.
About 100 Dunkin&rsquo shops are planned for the L.A. area, with shops in Downey, Long Beach and Whittier scheduled to open by the end of the year. A shop in Modesto opened last week. The company &ndash which has about 7,700 Dunkin&rsquo Donuts across the U.S. &ndash has long-term plans for about 1,000 locations in California.
&ldquoI&rsquove never seen this many people in line for an opening,&rdquo said Tom Manchester, vice president of field marketing for Dunkin&rsquo, who had flown in from Boston for Tuesday&rsquos celebration.
Talking to people in line, it was clear that many of the dedicated group had East Coast or Midwest roots.
&ldquoI heard it on the radio that it was opening, and I instantly knew I&rsquod be there waiting,&rdquo said Kendra St. Clair, who grew up in Rhode Island and now lives in North Hollywood. She came with her roommate around midnight Tuesday.
&ldquoShe&rsquos been tweeting about it all week. It&rsquos been clogging up my feed,&rdquo said her friend Josh Dyson, who lives in Tarzana.
John DiCrosta of Woodland Hills has been waiting nearly 20 years for Dunkin&rsquo to expand to the West Coast.
&ldquoI&rsquove been sending letters to the home office for years,&rdquo he said with a laugh. &ldquoI grew up with it since I was 10, 11 years old. I&rsquove been waiting 15 years for it.&rdquo
Before Tuesday, there were only three Dunkin&rsquo spots in California in untraditional locations: a hotel in San Diego, at Camp Pendleton military base and a tourist center in Barstow.
The freestanding Santa Monica location is just a stone’s throw from Starbucks and a Krispy Kreme at 1132 Wilshire Blvd.