Cafe Society

Guess who's coming for breakfast -- it's Dunkin' Donuts!

Ever have a hankering for a dozen chocolate-iced Bismarks and an iced latte from Dunkin' Donuts -- and then realize that because you live in Denver, you can't have them? Watching the occasional Dunkin' Donuts advertisement on the telly just rubs sprinkles in the stummy wound.

Right now, there are just three Dunkin' Donuts stores in Colorado, all in Colorado Springs, which might as well be South F*ckitania for anyone who lives in Denver.... But the doughnuts are turning.

DDs is poised to open a dozen new locations in metro Denver, starting with one in 2013 and rolling out the rest by 2018. Dunkin' Donuts, of Dunkin Brands Group, Inc., recently reached a development contract with new franchisees Buzz and Brad Calkins, who operate a group of Bradley Petroleum convenience stores where they already sell Dunkin's products.

This is a great, albeit expensive way to ensure that their gas stations don't have stale, off-brand doughnuts.

The store at 6660 Delmonico Drive in Colorado Springs sees plenty of DD fans coming in to fuel up and get their doughnut fix. "We really need the new stores here," says manager Joyce. "Folks drive from everywhere -- Denver, Greeley -- just to eat here."

Dunkin's coffee-and-doughnut concept has picked up some fragrant espresso-steam since its birth in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1950. It currently has around 10,000 shops worldwide, including some dual storefronts with its sister company, Baskin-Robbins. (Wouldn't it be sweet of them to offer a combination ice cream/doughnut cake?) Dunkin' recently switched to non trans-fat oils, and also upped the quality of its coffee to start a willy-wagging contest with Starbucks for competition market supremacy.

And DD owners and franchise operators are crafty in that they understood -- and continue to realize -- the perma-expansion-savvy idea of not only having free-standing stores, but also product placement in grocery stores, gas stations, airports, mall food courts and, hell, even the immortal soul-endangering Wal-Mart. Dunkin's franchisers also seem to have a better grip on the scheme that got their biggest rival, Krispy Kreme, ducked into a fat bat a few years ago -- modest, disciplined growth, rather than shooting out new stores like the Duggars pop out infants.

Even with a dozen spots on the drawing board, there are still current franchise opportunities in Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Greeley and south Denver.

This auspicious news is tempered only by the lack of the second-best news we could get from Dunkin' Donuts: that it's bringing back the "Time to Make the Donuts" guy, and has recast him with Jason Mamoa.

But the new stores will do for now.

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Jenn Wohletz
Contact: Jenn Wohletz