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Dunkin' Donuts Monopoly?

Hi Folks,
We just moved to Oak Park, which is a suburb of Chicago. We came from Los Angeles where most donut shops were mom and pop places. -Couldn't help but notice that here in Oak Park and Chicago, the donut market is completely dominated by Dunkin' Donuts. Why is that? Is it a mob thing? Is it like that in your town?

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  1. We have it all over in NJ as well. Got to keep the cops happy! :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: wench31

      In New England, Dunkin Donuts is a unit of measure. Directions are: "I'm 5 Dunkin Donuts down the road." ;-)

      Where I live, the Mom & Pop donut shop is pretty much extinct or has been displaced by places that sell designer coffee drinks at triple the price. As a kid in the 60's the local village had a mom & pop place that was the social nerve center of the village. Fridays, they served Fish 'n Chips in newspaper. The owner was known around town as "Dickie Donuts". Today, that storefront is a realtor's office.

    2. Here in Las Vegas, the chains here are Winchells, or Krispy Kreme. (yuck!) We are FINALLY getting back Dunkin' Donuts after they left town around 10 years ago- the first one's due to open in the next couple of weeks. I can hardly wait!

      There are Mom and Pop shops around town, but not as many as LA. I saw on a TV show that LA has the most donut shops per mile than anywhere in the US!

      I miss the good donuts I used to get growing up in LA. We still have one of them, just 3 blocks from my family's house. The owner gets there at 2-3 am, makes some of the best donuts i've ever eaten. Wish Vegas had him, but i'm personally thrilled DD's is coming to town!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Honeychan

        What happened to Winchell's, anyway? I know they used to be popular at one time, but must be at least 20 years ago. Now they're a ghost on life support.

      2. I'm always looking for mom-and-pop donut places! I have a post over on the New England boards, attempting to find some places to try in Maine. I ate at small shop in Las Vegas last year (I think the name was Ronalds?). I recently found ABC Donuts in Ellensburg Washington - just wonderful (although they were from a mix, doughnuts were great!). Then, in Seattle, I found the Mighty-O and Top Pot doughnuts. I really, really seek out the non-Dunkin, non-Krispy Kreme donuts!

        7 Replies
        1. re: wintersummer

          I am in New Haven, there are 8 Dunkin Donuts within a mile. I read that Tim Horton's is making a move into the US from Canada. They make much better dounuts

          1. re: mmalmad

            I totally agree, mmalmad! Tim Horton's is THE BEST, I became addicted to them when I visited Toronto a few years back. Really yummy, good quality...Plus, they make great donute holes, AKA TimBits. Love that name! I really hope TH's moves to the southwest, but I really doubt it. I heard reports they had a few shops in the upstate NY, and Minnesota areas..Fingers crossed, the rest of the US will learn of the wonder of Timmy's!

            1. re: Honeychan

              By "Minnesota area" if you mean Canada, you would be correct.

              The closest Tim Hortons to MN is just across the border from International Falls in Fort Frances, Ontario.

              Minnesota has an outpost or two of Krispy Kreme but no Dunkin Donuts. It's really tough to get a good donut in MSP.

              Honeychan, it's funny to hear you pining for good donuts in Vegas. Have you gotten in to Ronald's yet? Old Fashioned are my donut of choice and their Old Fashioned are world class. Everything else I tried there was very, very good and the owners are very nice people.

              1. re: MSPD

                It's funny you mention Ronalds donuts here in Vegas, MSPD! I live on the opposite side of town from them, and the couple of times i've made it over there, they are CLOSED!!! I feel like kicking on the locked door, I'm feeling so angry at myself! They seem to close around 4pm, it seems- and i'm a serious night-owl. I get off of work at 11pm, and I have my own Mom n Pop donut place close to home, and so far, I really love what they make. If Ronalds were open later, or I could wake up earlier and drive over to them..I'm not sure when I will finally get to try them. I've heard only great things about them, too. *fingers crossed* Hopefully, I'll get to finally try 'em.

                1. re: Honeychan

                  Yes, they are definitely worth the effort in my opinion. My impression was that you need to get there within a couple hours of opening time to ensure a good selection but that seems to be my experience with any fine purveyor of bakery stuff. It's probably a good thing that nobody in MSP does an Old Fashioned like Ronalds -- I'd be a whale.

              2. re: Honeychan

                Tim's was partially owned by Wendy's, and they are slowly extending into the US, letting "viral marketing" build their buzz. Too many Canadian firms have tried to do a giant push into the US, and been stung. (Sorta like Krispy Kreme's move into Canada; for about a year, they were very popular, then suddenly, not so much.) There are now Tim's in Michigan, New York, Vermont, and Maine to my knowledge (don't know about New Hampshire).

                The other thing about Tim's is that they have morphed from strictly a doughnut/coffee joint into a quick serve restaurant that offers slightly healthier options than burger/chicken spots. For example, they offer freshly made sandwiches like egg or chicken salad, BLT, etc., soups, chili, bagels. Nothing at Tim's is batter dipped or deep-fried (well, besides the doughnuts). Parents on my 13-yr old daughter's soccer team would always say during tournaments, "Well, let's take the girls to Tim's" - they would never suggest McD's or BK, even if those were closer. As a parent, you don't feel that you forcing your child to eat bad food options. It is more expensive than the burger chains, though.

                Tim's other interesting strategy is to rotate specific treats for the time of year. Right now, they are offering pumpkin tarts and treats; during the spring, it's maple danish; in the summer, they offer six different flavours of iced cappucino.

              3. re: mmalmad

                TiHo's has been in Michigan for years, I think they first started showing up about 8-9 years ago. Heck, we get Canadian TV (Hockey Nite in Canada, eh?) so we already had seen them advertised!

                Wendy's had bought them and dualled their stores with TiHo's for a few years, but Wendy's resold them about a year ago, I believe. They make a fine donut and many of them are open 24/7.

            2. Dunkin Donuts has a firm grip on the Greater Boston area, although there are a few family owned donut shops that survive by turning out a far superior product and maintain a loyal customer base.

              1. I travel to LA occasionally and I'm always impressed with the endless number of donut shops. I'm amazed chains haven't ruined the LA donut scene like here in Chicago. I believe that Chicago is the norm and only a few select other cities have great donuts. If I were starting my own business I would open a donut shop in Chicago in an effort to to rid our great city of Dunkin Donuts.

                1. DD started in new england in the 50's and has spread like a spider web. It is a 100% franchise business model, so the store you enter is "owned" by the locals as a franchisee. Like all chains, the business model includes holding your footprint and selectively expanding. Those of us inthe NE grew up with DD as the donut of choice with Mom and Pops fairly hard to find.

                  Just like the left coast has in-and-out, the southeast KK, the NE has DD. Not sure who won or lost in that trade but jfood is heading to PHX tonight and wants to try and in-and-out burger for the first time.

                  1. There are a ton of them in NY but I've never seen so many as in New Hampshire. I think there must be one DD for every 100 residents.

                    1. LA is probably more of a "mob thing" than Chicago. LA's Donuts are "controlled" by Southeast Asians.

                      Many years ago, a southeast asian immigrant (Cambodian) became successful running a donut shop, that person helped many other (over 2,000 by some estimates) southeast asians open their own donut shops, thus the high number of "mom and pop donut shops in the LA area. His story has been in the newspapers. His name is Ted Negoy, made a fortune from donuts, then lost it gambling.

                      Something similar happened with a Vietnamese immigrant in the lunch truck business in San Jose CA. (Mr Le's story has also been covered in the newspapers, no gambling that I remember). So, San Jose has close to 100 lunch trucks but very few "taco trucks".

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Alan408

                        Same thing in Houston. All prvate nonchain are asian

                      2. I think in a few years this area will be overrun by Dunkin. They're supposed to make a huge new push here in Pittsburgh. Right now they only have a handful of shops in the entire area, though, and in fact a couple of their locations I remember from when I moved here 15 years ago have since closed. We had a short-lived push from Krispy Kreme. A couple of them are still open but some others closed I think.

                        And beyond that, there really aren't too many specific donut shops that I know of. Donuts seem to be handled by bakeries that do many other things as well, be it a big chain grocery store or one of the still numerous mom and pop general purpose bakeries that do cakes, cookies, and so many other things in addition to donuts. These neighborhood bakeries are where donuts come from if they're not from a big chain.

                        1. here in dallas we have the mom&pop shop's and krispy kreme
                          i miss dunkin'donuts

                          1. We lost our Dunkin Donuts when Krispy Kreme moved into Wichita. We've got a couple Winchells, and the rest are mom & pop stores. I do kind of miss the coconut macaroon and chocolate honey-dipped DD donuts.

                            1. With 18 replies we have determined not much more than any particular area either has a plethora of DDs, or none of them at all.
                              I grew up with DD in NE, and they always have had an excellent cup of coffee. And it is nice to walk up to a counter and say "May I have a cup of coffee, please?" And without interrogation or Starbuckspeak, a cup of coffee appears. I like that.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Veggo


                                jfood uses the same lingo in DD and SB, "large coffee with skim milk please."

                                - At DD they jump right to it and hand you a large coffee with skim milk.
                                - At SB, first the deer in the headlights stare, then they figure it out what size "large" is, then they hand you black coffee filled to the brim so there is no room to add the skim milk on your own.

                                Go figure.


                              2. We have a few DD here in Fort Myers, FL, mostly Dunkin Donuts/BaskinRobbins, and no real mom and pop donut shops that I am aware of. However, having just returned from Manhattan today, I can attest to the fact that it seems once DD takes hold it spreads like wildfire. I swear it seemed there was one on every block. They were outnumbered only by Starbucks. CRAZY, but who doesn't love donuts? (I actually have never had a DD, woops, haha)

                                1. I wish we even had a Dunkin' Donuts! The only donuts we can get on this island are from the local grocery stores which aren't the best , let alone donut store fresh. We have 1 mom and pop place that only makes cake donuts. Nothing to write home about. I would take any chain donut shoppe!! I miss a good donut.The boxed krispy creme gets old fast.

                                  1. I think people will find it interesting to know that Dunkin Donuts sells 90% coffee and 10% donuts etc, where as Krispy Kreme sells 90% donuts and 10% coffee.

                                    I had to do a business model of both these stores in college, and this is what I found out while interviewing these companies. This was in 2003, so things may have changed by now.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Put a Sake in it

                                      Well DD does have awesome coffee. It's much better than Starbucks IMO, but I've never had coffee from Krispy Kreme. Also, DD now has the latte lites so I can get my latte fix cheaper than I could at Starbucks. Not too big a deal though because it seems I only ever realy drink the stuff when I am traveling.

                                      1. re: Put a Sake in it

                                        I do find that interesting. So, would DD be more proftiable since the cost on coffee is less than donuts?

                                      2. Kiwi - I'm from Evanston (n. side of chicago). DD is way of life in Chicago. I know of three Krispy Kreme's (one by O'hare). As far as local places, I'm sorry, I don't know any!

                                        DD's are also very inconsistent in Chicago esp. when ordering coffee. In New Engald, they totally get the iced coffee concept and always serve it up perfectly. In Chicago, I always had issues.

                                        Good luck! Maybe put a post on the Chicago board -I'm sure there will be a local favorite.

                                        1. Here in Houston, Tx, we have the opposite problem. There are 2 Dunkin Donuts, No Krispy Kreme's, and a mom & pop donut place on every other street. Most of the mom & pop shops are very good. A Southern Maid Donut shop opened but didn't last too long. We do have Mary Lee's Donut Shop (very good) and Shipley's Donuts.

                                          I sort of miss DD. My dad used to know exactly what time the glazed donuts were put out fresh, and we would hot foot it over there for fresh, melt in your mouth sweetness. Ahh, those were the days! He also knew where every one of them was, so when we ran errand for my mom we only went to stores near a DD (he loved the coffe and I loved the coconut donuts.) Mom would always wonder why it took us an hour to get milk and bread, but it was our special time and our secret!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: danhole

                                            Here in Vegas, Lamarr's donuts was here and gone, in about 1 year. They just didn't make it, and I still wonder WHY. They were tasty, and most people I knew who loved donuts, seemed to think quite highly of them.

                                            This month in October..Our new Dunkin Donuts opens up, and it's like waiting for Christmas to come, I swear! I am so excited, and to know they have coconut ones, have me over the moon.

                                          2. I worked for a summer in NY, NJ, and Penn and consequently was addicted to Dunkin Donuts as a quick coffee, smeared bagel, and occasional donut place. They were everywhere!! Even in the smallest towns there were mulitple locations- like Starbucks in my college town of Ellensburg, Wa- there are 4 sb's!! Once back home in Seattle, I tried to locate a Dunkin Donuts for a coffee fix and after wracking my brain couldn't find any- They dominate the east coast but not the west... still miss it a bit- it was like a cheap fix*

                                            In Seattle~ we have Krispy Kreme (a new thing in the last 5 years) on every corner now, Top Pot, Mighty-O, Winchell's, and lovely mom and pop- my favorite is Countryside Donuts.

                                            1. I miss DD! I lived on that company from day one as a Philly native. The iced coffee and munchkins rock!!! Since moving to L.A. (thanks to the old man of mine), donuts haven't tasted so good here.

                                              1. Has anyone had one of there french crullers?

                                                1. I was born and raised in LA, and I remember Winchell's shops all over the place. I remember their famous "Ralph & Norma" commercials, where the camera would gaze lovingly at the donuts where two off-screen voices longed for what was on the screen ("Ohh, look at those chocolate ones…")

                                                  The ad is on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LK08Q5...

                                                  From 21 years in LA, the only other donut shop I remember is Randy's, near the airport. I never got a donut there, but their giant donut on the roof is a very distinctive landmark. One look, and you'll realize you've seen it in movies, tv shows, etc.: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fbarrien...

                                                  1. Thank goodness for a small chain very near me. I think they have like three locations or four. Yum yum donuts is the name and they are awesome. If it wasn't for Yum Yum my area would be in trouble. Dunkin' Donuts are crawling all over like the spiny starfish menacing the tropical reefs. The low carb craze a few years back finished off a few struggling bakeries and even a krispy kreme that was only open for a year or two. I still have one of their paper hats from their grand opening sniff.

                                                    1. Tulsa seems to have been spared the Dunkin Donuts takeover. Here Daylight Donuts are the majority, followed by Paradise Donuts and a lot of local places and bakeries. We have one Krispy Kreme (and you would have thought the city won the lottery the way peopled acted when they came in) and a Dixie Cream Donuts that is pretty new.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                        The first Dunkin Donuts franchises opened up in Kansas City last year. Judging by the traffic you would have thought they were handing out gold ingots. I don't see what the fuss is about. They don't make their donuts on site ( at least at the Overland Park store) so they don't taste particularly fresh and the coffee has been lukewarm both times I have tried it. Firegoat, I miss Wolfey's Paradise on 15th.