It’s hard to know how much a name affects a franchise’s success. Look at McDonald’s, named after the two guys who didn’t even make the burger titan famous. Or Wendy’s, for founder Dave Thomas’ daughter. Still, it’s hard to picture Burger King without burgers in the title. Pizza Hut without pizza. Taco Bell without tacos.
So no wonder the morning fast-food world is reeling today with the news that Dunkin’ Donuts is testing out dropping “Donuts” from its name in favor of a new “Dunkin’” franchise. Business Insider reports that a Dunkin’ store in Quincy, Massachusetts (near the Dunkin’ Brands headquarters in Canton) dumped the “donuts” from its name late last year to emphasize that the chain is more than just a coffee-and-doughnuts stop. Last year, the chain discussed the name change, testing out a new “Dunkin’” franchise in Pasadena, California. “Now the change is rolling out to 30 more Boston-area locations and 20 nationwide locations” as part of an overall rebrand that will include updated “store design, drinks like nitro infused cold brew, and digital kiosks.” Yes, the chain has already expanded its menu past doughnuts into sandwiches, wraps, and frozen drinks. But “Dunkin’”? What are we dunking then? Into what?
Some good news: Dunkin’ is also on the early autumn train with pumpkin coffee and doughnuts already available in stores, as well as a new apple crisp doughnut—showing that the chain still realizes what it’s famous for, name change or no.