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.
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.
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:
— Alyson Shontell (@ajs) August 27, 2018
Others seem less ruffled by the news:
Dunkin’ Donuts is dropping the Donuts and people are freaking out…I’ve only heard people call if Dunkin’. They are literally changing the name to what everyone calls it…
— Thomas Everett © (@Thomas_Everett) August 27, 2018
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.
— Michail Takach (@michailtakach) August 28, 2018
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’.
It’s bad trust me it’s just bad https://t.co/aBLN72uhPH
— Hannah Thoreson ðð¼ (@h_thoreson) August 28, 2018
— Chris Stewart (@CStewartTheNow) August 28, 2018
Even back when Dunkin Donuts was originally called Mister Donut, it retained the “donut.” Keeping the donut ð© in the name keeps the franchise accountable for making good donuts, as those are the focus! Maybe.
— college rock ð¸ (@cryptolectic) August 22, 2018
They literally invented the word “Donut”. They should keep it forever.
— Dave Iarocci ðº (@IarocciDave) August 22, 2018
I’m old school. I like the old version . Some things should not be tampered with
— paul loffredo (@LoffredoPaul) August 22, 2018
Hmmm. I think @dunkindonuts would be better off without the word “Dunkin'”, to be honest. It makes no sense and it’s really not appealing. Donuts, though, is fine.
— Michi (@cbn2) April 2, 2018
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?