Dunkin’ Donuts is continuing its metamorphosis into a sort of niche coffee chain for people who prefer cafés with linoleum floors and blueberry pastries without real berries. In August, it announced it’s toying with dropping the word “Donuts” entirely from its name (a new Pasadena location’s customers will be greeted by signs that just read “Dunkin’”). The logical next step, the company believes, is to actually purge the menu of some fried dough.
This will supposedly help restore Dunkin’s lost “doughnut mojo,” which it believes got flattened under the extreme weight of 30 different varieties. By the end of this month, about a thousand of its stores nationwide will switch to menus that offer just 18 kinds. Some will eventually move back up to 24 after taking “consumer feedback and regional preferences” into consideration, but for most of those locations it’s probably good-bye to the more grotesquely fast food–y options (meaning watch your back, Jelly Donut).
Dunkin’’s U.S. and Canada president David Hoffmann tells Nation’s Restaurant News it’s “one of the most aggressive simplification efforts I’ve ever been part of,” adding that stores should expect to eliminate “close to a third” of the items on their menu, but experience only “minimal sales resistance.” (Huh.) The trick, he says, is emulating the doughnut variety found at a “boutique shop” — fancy artisan-style pastries are where it’s at, which you have to assume is why Dunkin’ launched a new “creepy, crawly” Spider Donut this week. It’s orange-frosted, has a brown Munchkin perched on top, and features eight “legs” drawn on in icing. The Munchkin itself also has two orange eyes.
Come to think of it, this embrace of the artisanal could also explain why the Dancing Pumpkin Man resurfaced yesterday in a new Dunkin’ Halloween ad: