Doughnuts aren’t just for breakfast anymore.
That’s the idea behind the latest Dunkin’ Donuts pastries, created to help attract customers during the afternoon. The chain will start selling Chips Ahoy doughnuts filled with cookie dough-flavored buttercream on June 1, touting them as an anytime snack. Dunkin’ also is testing mini doughnuts at about 40 restaurants in the Pittsburgh area and will introduce filled croissant doughnuts later this year.
“As doughnuts become more of a culinary treat across the industry, I think we see an opportunity to expand our doughnuts in the afternoon,” said Chris Fuqua, vice president of marketing for Dunkin’ Donuts. “People are trying different things at different times of the day.”
Dunkin’ Donuts is facing more competition in the market for sweet morning fare. McDonald’s is selling chocolate and blueberry muffins in some U.S. areas, while Krispy Kreme is advertising peach pie and Lemon Kreme Cake doughnuts. Taco Bell sells bite-sized doughnuts filled with Cinnabon icing, and Tim Hortons has Nutella-filled pastry pockets.
While many fast-food chains are trying to get more breakfast customers, Dunkin’ aims to decrease its reliance on the morning rush. The chain, with about 8,100 U.S. locations, has been advertising new sandwiches, such as the bacon guacamole flatbread, and offers its breakfast items all day.
Dunkin’ is selling another Chips Ahoy doughnut without filling -- both of the pastries have chocolate icing and are dipped in cookie crumbs. The doughnuts, created through a partnership with Mondelez International Inc., will be offered through the summer. The mini doughnuts, available in Boston Kreme, chocolate-frosted, jelly and glazed varieties, are just another way to get creative with indulgent treats, Fuqua said.
Dunkin’, owned by Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., is planning to roll out the filled croissant doughnut this year after selling a croissant-doughnut hybrid in 2014. The chain also recently experimented with bacon-topped doughnuts. That item is now being tweaked to make sure the fried-pork strips stick better to the top of the doughnut.
“Doughnuts are a timeless, kind of fun thing,” Fuqua said. “We think it’s a great way to differentiate ourselves in the coffee wars.”