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Dunkin’ Donuts uncaps sales via Northeast mobile ordering expansion

Dunkin’ Donuts is preparing itself for a surge in rewards membership sign-ups following the expansion of its mobile ordering pilot to select locations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as only DD Perks members can take advantage of the brand’s VIP application.

Dunkin’ Donuts is bringing its digital ordering and payment solution to a slew of Northeast residents this week, pulling the brand closer to competitor Starbucks’ top status as a mobile leader in the food and beverage industry. As the mobile ordering expansion continues reaching more states, Dunkin’ Donuts is likely to experience an influx of sales from time-strapped consumers, as well as an uptick in DD Perks sign-ups.

“We are pleased with the results that we are seeing from our Perks members using the On-the-Go test in Portland,” said Scott Hudler, vice president of global consumer engagement at Dunkin’ Brands. “Our guests have been requesting mobile ordering for some time, and we are excited to expand this program to 28 select Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants throughout the Boston area.”

Rapid ordering
Mobile ordering and payment options are a lucrative solution for any major food and beverage chain catering to digitally-savvy consumers with little time. Instead of waiting in long lines for their morning coffee and breakfast, consumers can order their favorite meals ahead of time, pay via an app and dash into a store to pick up the already-prepared items.

Dunkin’ Donuts is expanding its current pilot to nine bricks-and-mortar locations in Boston, and 19 others in Massachusett’s Canton, Avon, Milford, Hanover, Weymouth, Leominster, Wakefield, Newton, Norwood and Wellesley towns, as well as Rhode Island’s Cranston.

The chain first rolled out mobile ordering and delivery services for Portland and Dallas residents in September of 2015, highlighting its dedication to staying competitive with Starbucks by targeting on-the-go consumers (see story).

Initial results for the pilot have been positive, as revealed in the brand’s earnings call for 2015’s fourth quarter. After launching mobile delivery in four metropolitan areas at the end of last year, Dunkin’ Donuts saw app downloads spike to nearly 16 million, and the DD Perks program jump to include 4.3 million members.

The company’s headquarters in Canton, MA, fueled its decision to bring mobile ordering to Boston residents. The expansion will enable Dunkin’ Donuts to continue perfecting the app and order fulfillment process before rolling out the service nationwide later this year.

“Usage continues to rise and we’re very pleased with the test so far,” Mr. Hudler said. “On-the-Go Ordering offers make it even easier and more convenient for people to run on Dunkin’ from morning to night and offers people more ways to enjoy our wide array of food and beverages.

“The key benefit is to make our fast service even faster by giving our DD Perks members the ability to skip the line in-store using On-the-Go Ordering.”

Glazing over loyalty
Since only DD Perks members and iOS users can access the ordering app, called Dunkin’ VIP, the coffee giant is well-poised to experience a surge in memberships. Consumers belonging to the program are also likely to spend more money over time, thanks to the influence of frequent discounts and special offers.

Frequent customers may enjoy a more positive relationship with the brand as well. The company claims that if lines are long, consumers will often elect not to purchase a food item to go along with their beverage.

Now that order-ahead options are available, individuals can rest assured they will not have to wait for long to pick up their breakfast sandwich or bagel in addition to a coffee or tea.

“Consumers join loyalty clubs when there are clear and compelling benefits,” said Jeff Hasen, founder of Gotta Mobilize and author of The Art of Mobile Persuasion. “There is no downside unless a brand or business exploits the permission-based relationship with spam or other unwanted communications.”


To use the service, mobile users can tap the image corresponding to the item they would like within the VIP app. They may place orders up to 24 hours in advance. Additionally, favorite menu products can be saved, to allow for quick reordering in the future.

When they are about to stop by their local Dunkin’ Donuts, consumers can press the “Ready to Pick Up” button from the order confirmation page. The meals will be ready to be retrieved at a designated spot in the store, or at a drive-thru window.

This is not Dunkin’ Donuts’ first step into the lucrative world of mobile commerce.

Last December, the chain integrated Apple Pay into its mobile app, enabling users to reload their account balances via the iOS-enabled payment platform, as well as purchase or gift Dunkin’ Donuts cards to other consumers (see story).

“I have zero reason to believe that Dunkin’ Donuts, a pioneer when it comes to mobile, will go down a bad road,” Mr. Hasen said. “It is wise to test, learn and make adjustments – just like those who will come into the business and try products and sweeteners until they find something of their liking.

“As to competition with Starbucks, with several studies showing that the average worker spends over $1,000 a year on coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts’ cup runneth over with customers and opportunity.”