As it reaped the benefits of its digital investments, Dunkin’ Brands added 146 net new Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins locations around the world in Q4, with the inclusion of 76 net new Dunkin' locations in the U.S.
Dunkin’ U.S. reported comparable store sales growth of 2.8 percent in the quarter, while Baskin-Robbins U.S. saw comparable store sales growth of 4.1 percent, according to the company’s earnings report.
Dunkin’ Brands CEO Dave Hoffmann said in a call with analysts on Thursday (Feb. 6) that DD Perks members nationwide – were able to earn rewards points, whether they pay with cash, debit, credit or Dunkin’ gift card – beginning in October of 2019. “This represents the first major change to our loyalty program in five years,” he noted. The company overall ended the year with over 13 million loyalty members.
In the fourth quarter, the company also opened up its digital ecosystem by letting any diner use its on-the-go mobile ordering, which in the past was exclusive to DD Perks members. The feature lets any diner – not only Perks members – place an order and earn points via their preferred payment method. The company processed over 20 million on-the-go orders in the fourth quarter – “a new milestone for us,” Hoffmann said.
Hoffmann noted that crucial pillars in the company’s growth strategy included beverage leadership, food innovation and consistent value. The three areas were key for the company in 2019, driving 2.8 percent comp-store sales growth in Q4. Espresso sales jumped by almost 40 percent year over year. The category was led by holiday products and promotions, including its signature lattes paired and its $2 espressos offered from 2 to 6 p.m.
In the spring, the QSR will roll out its oat milk latte nationally, and Hoffmann noted that the Beyond Sausage sandwich is an example of “premium food innovation.” The item garnered media buzz supporting high diner trial and repurchase rates. It attached well with premium-priced cold brew and espresso beverages, delivering an average check north of $9. Hoffmann called Dunkin’ a “menu-driven brand” and stressed the importance of providing diners with on-trend choices.
Baskin-Robbins U.S. finished the year strong, with comp-store sales growth of 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter. Performance was led by cups and cones, supported by the introduction of the non-dairy, vegan-friendly Coffee Caramel Chunk as the November flavor of the month.
Dunkin’ Brands reported $335.9 million in revenue and diluted adjusted earnings of 73 cents per share for the fourth quarter. Analysts had expected revenue of $336.2 million and earnings of 69 cents per share.