Dunkin’ Doughnuts wants to beat Starbucks at its own game

Soon, you might not have to leave your car to get your Dunkin’ Doughnuts coffee.

The company is preparing to test curbside delivery, with employees bringing orders to customers waiting in their cars at locations without drive-thru lanes, the company announced in an earnings call on Thursday.

The chain is also testing delivery, partnering with startups such as DoorDash and delivery app Favour. After what the company calls a “few months” of tests, Dunkin’ Doughnuts is expanding its delivery services to the Boston area beginning on May 1, reports Boston.com.

Both tests are tied to Dunkin’s rollout of On-the-Go Ordering, which the company began testing in limited markets in November. The mobile app allows customers to order and pay in advance, and will roll out in the New York area in May.

“Consumers are increasingly demanding convenience, and we are challenging ourselves to be a leader in this area,” CEO Nigel Travis said in a call with investors on Thursday.


Quartz pointed out that Dunkin’s tech updates come as the chain attempts to keep up with Starbucks, the unparalleled leader in digital in the quick-service industry.

Starbucks reports that 24% its orders are made via mobile, thanks to the company’s system that links ordering, payment, and the chain’s rewards program. Dunkin’ Doughnuts says that it has 4.6 million Dunkin’ Doughnuts Perks members, compared to the more than 12 million Starbucks Rewards members.

Dunkin’ isn’t trying to hide its desire to catch up with Starbucks’ digital tech innovation. In fact, the company is openly eager to cash in on customers’ dissatisfaction with recent changes to Starbucks’ rewards program.

“I’d also like to point out that we’ve been very opportunistic in the face of a competitor’s changes to their loyalty program about pointing out the benefits of our program,” Travis said in Thursday’s investors call, referring to Dunkin’s push to convince customers to join its rewards program following backlash against the Starbucks Rewards revamp.

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