Hospitality

Earnings Call: Gen Z Loves Dunkin’

Image Credit: Dunkin'

Dunkin’ will announce its Q2 2019 earnings in a call on Thursday, with investors hoping to keep up the momentum after posting strong growth in sales and revenue in the first quarter.

CivicScience is continuously tracking favorability of big chains like Dunkin’. The study below focused on survey results of  64,000 Americans age 13 and older from April through June — asking them what they think of Dunkin’ both as a coffee shop and as a purveyor of breakfast sandwiches, wraps, and, of course, donuts.

The top-line results for Dunkin’s food options are encouraging, with only about 1-in-8 Americans saying they don’t like Dunkin’. The results for Dunkin’ coffee are a bit more lukewarm. Still, it’s more positive than negative.

While favorability toward Dunkin’ coffee was lower than that of its food, the cross-response of the two questions showed that only 3% of Dunkin’ coffee drinkers don’t like the food. Flipping the script, the picture was a little less striking. But still, only 11% of Dunkin’ foodies say they don’t like the coffee:

It all adds up to a warm and fuzzy view of Dunkin’ in the minds of most Americans, with 62% of U.S. adults saying they feel “very” or “somewhat” positively toward the brand in late June and July of this year.

Favorability toward Dunkin’ food has come a long way since CivicScience started tracking this data. In early 2015, 35% of Americans were favorable to Dunkin’ food and 20% were unfavorable — a ratio of about 7:4. Today, that ratio is closer to 14:4.

Lately, though, neutral feelings toward Dunkin’ food have been creeping up slowly, while favorability feathers downward.

Beyond Donuts and Beyond Meat

Looking ahead, perhaps the brand can capitalize on the buzz around its new Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich, featuring plant-based sausage, shifting neutral feelings downward again. First off, nearly one in five respondents of the U.S. population at large said they’re at least somewhat interested in trying it.

But when it comes to the biggest fans of Dunkin’ food, the results are even more encouraging:

Nearly half of Americans who say they “love” Dunkin’ want to try the new Beyond Meat sandwich. What’s more, it may have the potential to sway some who don’t like Dunkin’. More than one-fifth of respondents who said they don’t like Dunkin are at least somewhat interested in the new offering.

The Coffee Wars

When it comes to nationwide coffee chains, Starbucks is almost certainly Dunkin’s biggest competitor. In the second quarter of 2019, it would appear Dunkin’ coffee has a leg up on the competition. While Starbucks slightly edged Dunkin’ in favorability (34% to 32%), the Seattle-based chain also had far more negative responses (36% to 20%).  

Interestingly, Dunkin’ coffee fans seem to be more loyal to their brand. While 34% of Dunkin’ coffee enthusiasts say they don’t like Starbucks, only 13% of Starbucks drinkers said the same about Dunkin’.

Demographics

One excellent sign for Dunkin’ is the extraordinarily high favorability that the brand’s food commands among the youngest age groups. In fact, with almost no exceptions, favorability toward Dunkin’ food increases as age decreases:

The pool of respondents with favorable or neutral feelings toward Dunkin’ food was split fairly evenly between the sexes. However, those with a negative view of Dunkin’ food were 17% more likely to be female.

Cannabis users — about 14% of the U.S. adult population, by CivicScience’s reckoning — were about 29% more likely to enjoy Dunkin’s food offerings.

Target vs. Walmart? Why Not Both?

Finally, when it comes to Dunkin’ fans’ favorite places to shop, the results are interesting. They’re generally favorable toward Walmart, but even more so toward Target.

Overall, favorability toward Dunkin’ food is in a good place, although neutral feelings do appear to be creeping in at the expense of favorability. Perhaps the new Beyond Meat sandwich, paired with a recent general increase in interest around breakfast-to-go options, can bolster those numbers in Q3.

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