Millions of Americans start their days with some much-needed morning caffeine from Dunkin’ Donuts stores, but amid slow growth and a downturn in the company’s stock, it’s about to get a little harder to find your fix.
Dunkin’ Donuts announced Thursday (Oct. 1) that it would be closing around 100 in-store kiosks located in Speedway convenience stores across the U.S., Reuters reported. The closings are all expected to take place over the next 15 months, with all of them coming at the expense of Speedway franchisees. While no specific locations were mentioned, Speedway’s stores are mostly concentrated on the East Coast.
In a statement quoted by the Boston Business Journal, Dunkin’ Brands COO Karen Raskopf explained that the self-service kiosks in question never approached the profitability or traffic of its full stores.
“These Speedway locations represent only 0.1 percent of Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. sales, and their closure presents Dunkin’ Donuts with an opportunity to re-enter many trade areas with full-menu traditional restaurants,” Raskopf said. “Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees are opening a new restaurant every 16 hours.”
The company’s U.S. sales rose only 1.1 percent in the quarter ended September, which represents a slowdown from a 2-percent growth rate a year prior. In fact, news of the underperforming sales caused Dunkin’s shares to topple by 12.7 percent.
Dunkin’ Brands will be out some fringe elements of its business come the end of 2016, but framing this as a death knell for the company is most likely alarmist. Dunkin Brands’ executive board expressed plans to more than double the number of stores in the U.S. from 8,200 to 17,000, with heavy expansion expected throughout the western half of the country.
If there is a silver lining, it may be that the reduced burden of under-performing kiosks will let Dunkin’ Brands re-focus on its mobile experience.
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