Dunkin’ Donuts announced Monday that it’s adding 26 new restaurants in the Fresno and San Francisco markets over the next several years.
Existing franchisee Aharon Aminpour, who owns and operates a Dunkin’ Donuts in Encino, plans on adding 17 restaurants to Fresno and its surrounding cities, including Clovis, Visalia and Tulare.
Dunkin’ Donuts has opened 10 restaurants in California since September 2014 — nine in Southern California and one in Modesto. More locations are to follow in the Los Angeles and Sacramento areas before the end of 2015.
The restaurant chain says in a news release that the new restaurants are part of a greater plan to open about 275 restaurants in the state over the next several years, and a long-term plan to open more than 1,000 restaurants in California.
The company is following a trend. According to Datassential’s Menu Trends, doughnuts have increased in popularity 60% since 2005. Dunkin’ Donuts was the chain with the second-highest number of new doughnut releases in the past year, with Krispy Kreme at No. 1.
While plans to expand Dunkin’ Donuts into California were announced about two years ago, progress seems slow because of the time Dunkin’ Donuts puts into selecting its franchisees and locations, said Steve Rafferty, senior director of business development at parent company Dunkin’ Brands. The company is ahead of its opening schedule, he added.
Only a handful of Dunkin’ Donuts’ locations are company-operated. Rafferty said the company looks for franchisees who have experience operating quick-service restaurants.
Dunkin’ Donuts will have some competition when it gets to Fresno. Aside from the many small doughnut shops already in the Fresno area, Krispy Kreme is due to make a comeback next year after leaving Fresno’s restaurant scene for about eight years. There are also many franchises and local restaurants that offer other breakfast items and coffee like Dunkin’ Donuts does.
But if there’s a coffee war to be had, the results may surprise: Dunkin’ Donuts sells more coffee by the cup than anyone else in the U.S., Rafferty said.
Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t see itself as a doughnut shop or a coffee shop or a one-stop for breakfast, but as all of that, Rafferty said. It plans to compete with local businesses with a combination of high-quality products, fair pricing and drive-thru convenience, he said.
“We like to think they come for the doughnuts and stay for the coffee,” he said.
Sarah Anderson: (559) 441-6248; @Sarahsonofander