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America: Dunkin’ Donuts’ Next Frontier

Asia is a key market for Dunkin' Donuts. The company entered India in 2012. Pictured here is a store in New Delhi.
Asia is a key market for Dunkin' Donuts. The company entered India in 2012. Pictured here is a store in New Delhi. Photograph by Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg

Dunkin’ Donuts has 1,748 restaurants in South Korea and the Philippines. In California? Only one, at a Marine Corps base near Oceanside that opened in 2012.

Now Chief Executive Nigel Travis has announced his intention to spread the chain up and down the West Coast, starting with 150 stores in southern California. This is the third time in the past 30 years it will try to hook Californians on its sugary baked goods and coffee drinks. The chain actually had about a dozen stores in California until it pulled out in the late 1990s. In 2002, it made a short-lived effort to reenter Sacramento. “For one reason or another, usually down to the partner, it didn’t work out,” says Travis, citing inadequate franchisee support, including “world-class bad” training. “Just about every brand has had some of these stops and starts.” It now plans to have more than 1,000 restaurants eventually throughout the state.