- Dunkin' Brands Group, the parent company of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, plans to make mobile ordering a key part of its three-year growth plan, including opening up to 50 NextGen restaurants by the end of 2019, according to a press release by the company. The company will add a total of 1,000 new Dunkin' Donuts locations in the U.S. by the end of 2020, and 75% of those restaurants will have a drive-thru lane to enhance the on-the-go pickup process.
- The national coffee and bakery chain is the first quick-service restaurant (QSR) in the U.S. to feature a dedicated drive-thru lane for mobile orders, as the company showcased last month with the opening of a concept store in Quincy, MA. The company said locations with a drive-thru have 40% higher sales volume than restaurants without the service, per the release. It also announced it's testing a digital catering platform in some markets this year as well as third-party delivery options.
- This year, Dunkin' said it will test giving loyalty members a way to earn points using all forms of payments. On-the-go mobile ordering is a popular feature of its DD Perks loyalty program, which grew 33% to 8 million members last year. The mobile ordering feature was used more than once by 80% of its DD Perks members, the company said.
As a QSR chain that's growing its footprint across the U.S., especially outside of its home base in the Northeast, Dunkin' Donuts has the opportunity to make mobile ordering a key part of its newly opened locations. That's especially true of its NextGen store format that's designed to cater to on-the-go customers. The new stores have drive-thru lanes, beverage bars and grab-and-go snacks to speed up service. Dunkin' plans to have up to 50 NextGen restaurants by the end of 2019 with the goal of driving more customers to its stores and mobile app for the added conveniences.
Meanwhile, the company plans to test new features for its DD Perks loyalty program, including "tender agnostic" participation. That means members can earn points using all forms of payments, including their mobile app, credit, debit or cash, which the company likely aims to make its loyalty program more popular among existing and new customers.
Mobile ordering is expected to transform how many of Dunkin' Donuts's stores operate. The company estimated that employees spend 30% of their time taking orders at restaurants, when they could be using that time to enhance customers's experiences and provide higher-quality service. Mobile ordering could help to improve order accuracy and the speed of service while freeing up employees to focus on other tasks. Dunkin' Donuts also seeks to improve its image with healthier food options and eco-friendly initiatives to improve its image among consumers. The company will phase out its white foam coffee cups this spring and eliminate them entirely by 2020, according to Waste Dive. Environmental advocates prefer paper cups because plastic foam is difficult to recycle.