Dunkin’ Donuts, with its neon-sprinkled confections and sugary coffee drinks, might seem like a peculiarly American craze. But the American donut and coffee chain is a surprisingly global business, with a presence in more than 30 countries. The company generated about 20% of its revenues in international markets in the third quarter, compared to about 24% for rival Starbucks.
In one of the clearest signs yet of its parent Dunkin’ Brands’s global ambitions, the company this week signed a ”multi-million pound” sponsorship agreement with English soccer team Liverpool Football Club. This makes sense; Dunkin has an extensive footprint in Asia (where it was embroiled in a racism scandal last year) and recently announced plans to enter the UK; Liverpool is one of the biggest teams in England and also has a large and devoted fan base in Asia.
But the even more surprising thing about the donut maker is that while its overseas expansion is ticking along nicely, inside the US, its footprint remains heavily concentrated in the northeast.
It has no presence in large swathes of America’s northwest, and a very limited presence in many major states in the interior and west. Currently, it only has two stores in California, and none Minnesota (though it plans to expand in both states over the next two years). As the Wall Street Journal reported this week, nearly two-thirds of the company’s stores are in 10 northeast cities: it had more stores in Rhode Island than in all of Texas.
By contrast, when it comes to Starbucks coffee shops, you’re within 170 miles of one when you set foot anywhere in the continental US. So America doesn’t so much run on Dunkin as do globe-trotters and the diehard Dunkin lovers of the American northeast.