Donuts strike back: Dunkin’s and DumDum’s concept stores signal the resurgence of the sweet treat

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

DumDum Donnutterie and Dunkin' Donuts are both opening new concept stores to capitalize on the rising popularity of donuts. Pic: DumDum
DumDum Donnutterie and Dunkin' Donuts are both opening new concept stores to capitalize on the rising popularity of donuts. Pic: DumDum

Related tags Doughnut Dunkin' donuts

Donuts were once ‘uncool’ but they are now one of the leading products in the independent, trendy gourmet, handmade sector, apparent with the opening of new concepts stores on both sides of the Atlantic.

In the UK, artisanal donut company DumDum Donnutterie recently announced the opening of its new retail concept at INTU Lakeside shopping center in London, UK.

This past week, Dunkin Donuts in the US also unveiled what the Canton, Massachusetts-based company called its ‘next generation concept store’.

The reports led BakeryandSnacks to question if the deep-fried, sugary snack is back on trend even as consumers prioritise healthier foods.

Indulgence versus resistance

According to Stephen Dutton, senior foodservice analyst at market researcher Euromonitor International, while health and wellness is an importantand constantly evolving consumer trend, foodservice is still an indulgent occasion for many consumers.

“While consumer may be focused on eating healthier, foodservice is still very much an experience in which the consumer feels like they can indulge - perhaps a reward for the hard work of leading better, healthier lives at home,”​ he told BakeryandSnacks.

“Indulgence is still thriving… and donuts are enjoying international growth currently,”​ added proprietor and patisserie chef Paul Hurley of DumDum Donnutterie.

Bakery boom

“There is a boom in bakery stemming from the current passion for home baking - started by ‘The Great British Bake Off’ - that is huge on social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.

“As a result, there is [more] awareness of the skill in baking and patisserie… and consumers are more prepared to pay for quality.

“That said, with healthy eating as important as it is, consumers don’t want to eat rubbish. DumDum donuts are popular because of their patented baking process - nothing is deep fried - and their honesty with their ingredients, which are all natural,​” said the former exec of Dunkin Donuts UK, who broke away to open DumDum a decade ago.

Today, the independent British baker has three UK outlets and an exclusive arrangement to supply Harrods with patented patisserie-inspired donuts.

DumDum’s concept

DumDum Lakeside shopfront DSC00933

The new 39m2​ takeaway and 15-seater café in Essex - designed in collaboration with London-based retail design consultants Innovare Design - captures the essence of a traditional European patisserie with a contemporary twist on the American craft donut experience.

Strong graphics express the brand’s story, while illustrated menu boards and product photography clearly present the range. Product is strategically lit and presented on black slate trays.

Elsewhere the use of natural timber reflects the natural ingredients - evident, too, in the new packaging, which is now paper bags and boxes.

Due to the brand’s popularity on Instagram, there are several ‘instagrammable’ quotes painted on walls, such as a quirky Donut Guy illustration that touts  Hurley’s brand mission and fun donut puns like ‘Doughs before Bros.’

Dunkin Donuts’ new generation

In a similar design move, US Dunkin Donuts has opened a new 2,200 square foot shop in the city where the company began nearly 70 years ago, featuring “a new, modern atmosphere, integrating technology with design elements, and the chain’s first drive-thru exclusively for mobile ordering.”

Lighter colors, an open layout and natural light create “an approachable, positive and energetic environment”,​ while a tap system – similar in design to on tap ales serve beverages like nitro infused cold brew coffee, and fully-integrated digital kiosks introduce online ordering.

Dunkin Donus new concept store 2

A mobile app allows delivery both in and outside the restaurant, and consumers can track orders on a new digital order status board.

Following a mandatory trial period, both donut companies are planning to extend the concepts.

Dunkin Donuts said 30 or more new and remodelled restaurants will test variations of the new design this year, while Hurley said DumDum has planned international expansion in Qatar, Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

Dunkin' Donuts has announced it is removing all artificial dyes from its donuts, following its announcement last year to remove artificial colors from all its products by the end of 2018.

“Donuts - in addition to being purely indulgent occasions - can still work in the evolving framework of how the health and wellness trend is applied to foodservice,”​ added Dutton.

“Successful donut chains may find that communicating how they offer a better experience will be important in remaining relevant to consumers that are more discerning in the food they eat and the concepts they choose to spend on. This is true for consumers in all world markets.”

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