Technology breeds change for every business -- even those that traffic in coffee and donuts.
Yesterday (Nov. 18), Dunkin' Donuts began testing out mobile ordering (through a smartphone app) at 124 of its locations in Portland, Maine, and a delivery service at 19 Dallas restaurants, reported Bloomberg -- which added that the chain plans to implement delivery at locations in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington.
Dunkin' Donuts claims that in Dallas, the delivery service -- which is carried out in partnership with DoorDash -- can bring doughnuts, coffee and other items from the store to residents in 45 minutes or less.
"The morning space and the coffee space are incredibly crowded," Scott Hudler, Dunkin' Donuts Vice President of Global Consumer Engagement, told Bloomberg. "Speed is one of our brand differentiators."
The Bloomberg story puts forth the notion that Dunkin' Donuts moves herein may have been motivated by its position behind competitor Starbucks in the realm of technology-based consumer offerings. The latter company launched its own mobile ordering service throughout the U.S. in September, adding some Canadian and U.K. locations the following month. Meanwhile, Dunkin' Donuts, for its part, has recently struggled with app crashes (Bloomberg cites the unexpected popularity of a football promotion as a recent issue in that regard), and membership in its loyalty program in the U.S. (about 3.6 million) pales in comparison to that of Starbucks, which is at roughly 10.4 million.
Dunkin', the outlet adds, last month suffered its worst stock decline since going public in 2011, and is facing increased competition in the morning meals market from chains such as Taco Bell and McDonald's. Taco Bell, it should be noted, is also a competitor on the delivery front, as are Chipotle and other major restaurant chains.
"This is how the next generation of consumers are going to engage with brands," Hudler also remarked to Bloomberg. "This is the future of the restaurant business."