Dunkin’ tests dropping ‘Donuts’ from its name

Fans of the coffee and pastry chain are deriding the change online. The company has rolled out the name change at only a handful of locations.

Dunkin’ Donuts is testing a change of name and brand—to the dismay of some fans.

The chain has removed the word “donuts” from its marquee in several locations, though those baked confections remain on the menu. The chain has plans to modify stores nationwide, but it insists the name change itself isn’t necessarily permanent.

Business Insider reported:

The name change doesn’t come as a surprise — the Massachusetts-based coffee empire began testing the name Dunkin’ at a handful of Massachusetts locations late last year, according to Eater.

The Dunkin’ concept is part of a major rebrand that includes a new store design, drinks like nitro infused cold brew, and digital kiosks to order at. The first Dunkin’ concept was opened at a Quincy, Massachusetts, location. By the end of the year, the new concept will be at 30 locations in Boston and 20 nationwide.

The Dunkin’ concept isn’t necessarily a permanent change — while it will be rolling out to about 50 stores, Dunkin’ Donuts said in a statement that it doesn’t plan to make any decisions regarding the branding until later this year.

On LinkedIn, marketers and industry insiders have voiced skepticism.

Anne Higgins, owner of SpeedPro Imaging, wrote:

Being in the Sign business, I will gladly take the business of re-branding their signage but why? Just leave the name alone. It’s what people know and most people don’t like change. It’s like IHOP changing the “P” to “B”. That went over like a lead bomb! Don’t change what is not broken!!

On Twitter, others wonder how complete the rebranding might be:

Others seem less ruffled by the news:

Many are comparing the move to IHOP’s recent rebranding adventure (read PR stunt), when it purportedly—and vociferously—changed its name to the International House of Burgers to sell more, well, burgers.

IHOP reported success from the move and an increase in burger sales by 75 percent. However, many saw its faux rebranding as annoying—and social media users are sharpening their knives for the reimagined Dunkin’.

Despite modifying the marquees on a few dozen stores, the brand hasn’t changed its social media handles nor promised to roll these changes out nationwide, leaving consumers to wonder just how big the change is or whether it’s a phase—or, worse yet, a stunt.

What do you think of the doughnut chain’s rebranding efforts, PR Daily readers?

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