* Dunkin' Donuts left California in 2002
* Competition in the state includes Starbucks, McDonald's
* Shares add almost 3 percent
By Lisa Baertlein
LOS ANGELES, Jan 16 Dunkin' Donuts said on
Wednesday it would open shops in southern California in 2015 in
its long-awaited return to the state it left more than a decade
ago when it was under different management.
Fiercely loyal Dunkin' Donuts customers have been clamoring
for it to re-enter California, which the company said is the No.
1 state for grocery sales of its bagged coffee.
The coffee chain expects to open 150 to 200 shops in
southern California by 2020, said Nigel Travis, chief executive
of Dunkin' Brands Inc and president of Dunkin' Donuts
for the United States. "We eventually plan to have more than
1,000 restaurants throughout the state," he said.
Dunkin' Donuts closed its last California store in
Sacramento in August 2002. Customers complained that the firm's
shops were run-down and outdated. Dunkin's marketing vice
president at the time, Kenneth Kimmel, said, "We just couldn't
break the doughnut paradigm in California."
Dunkin' Donuts parent Dunkin Brands went public in July 2011
with the goal of expanding Dunkin' Donuts.
The chain, whose current tagline is "America runs on
Dunkin'", has since put greater emphasis on coffee and embraced
its more blue collar roots by positioning itself as a more
affordable alternative to fancier coffee chains like Starbucks
Travis said drive-thrus would likely be a significant part
of the store mix in southern California, where driving is a big
part of everyday life.
Dunkin' Donuts, which has been expanding westward in states
such as Arizona, Nevada and Colorado, said it was recruiting
franchisees for Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, San
Bernardino, Ventura and Orange counties. At this time, there are
no specific plans for offering franchises for sale in northern
California, the company said.
California native Krista Thomas, marketing vice president at
Fan Appz, said she became a "mad, passionate Dunkin' fan" during
the 12 years she lived in Boston.
Now residing in the southern California beach town of
Venice, she has had to settle for buying Dunkin' Donuts packaged
coffee in grocery stores.
Thomas said it would be worth waiting for Dunkin' but
admitted that her first reaction was, "Two years away? Come on,
you're killing me!"
The chain's competitors in California, the nation's most
populous state, will include national brands such as McDonald's
Corp and Starbucks as well as smaller chains such as
Peet's Coffee & Tea, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Winchell's Donut
In May, Dunkin' opened a unit on a U.S. Marine base near San
Diego, but access to that cafe is limited.
There are about 7,200 Dunkin' Donuts in the United States
and more than 3,100 elsewhere. This year, Dunkin' Donuts plans
to open 330 to 360 net new stores in the United States.
Domestic Dunkin' Donuts cafes contribute almost 75 percent
of revenue and more than 80 percent of profit at Dunkin' Brands.
Shares in Dunkin' Brands closed up 2.6 percent to $34.89 on