As if having awful doughnuts and Rachael Ray as your spokesperson wasn’t bad enough, Dunkin’ Donuts is now on my “shit list” for muscling out smaller franchisees as well.
It seems that the company wants to expand from their current 5,505 locations to over 15,000 stores in the next few years. Why? The company wants to take on Starbucks. Just as there seems to be a Starbucks on every corner, so Dunkin’ wants their stores on every corner too.
To meet their goal of tripling the number of Dunkin’ locations in the US, the company needs major franchisees, the kind of people that can afford to open a dozen Dunkin’ Donut stores at once. The only problem with the company’s plan is that there are existing franchisees that can’t do this – in many areas, “Mom and Pop” franchisees own 2 or 3 Dunkin’ stores, yet have exclusive rights to those geographic locations.
So, for example, let’s say that Lisa and I own the franchise rights to Dunkin’ Donuts in the metro Charlotte area. We’re a small company, only able to run 2 or 3 stores at once. Dunkin’ just can’t come in and open a bunch of new stores in the Charlotte area – that would violate the franchise contact that Lisa and I signed with the company. But Dunkin’ is itching to sell our rights to Charlotte Mega Donut Corp, who plan to open 100 new Dunkin’ stores as soon as we’re out of the picture. So how does Dunkin’ get us out of the picture?
By suing us, of course! Dunkin’ has apparently sued 154 franchisees in the US since 2006. Compare that to McDonalds (which has sued 5 franchisees) and Subway (which has sued only 12 franchisees in the same time period, even though they have over 21,000 US locations to Dunkin’s 5500!).
Screw you, Dunkin’ Donuts. Krispy Kreme for life, yo!