What Does America Really Run On?

Varona Maysonet-Ayala, Managing Editor

  Dunkin’ Donuts Drive Thru Sign.

Apart of many Americans’ morning routine, Dunkin’ Donuts supplies adults on the run with coffee and kids in the backseat with munchkins. Though the popular coffee chain is successful, many people ridicule it for its lack of sophistication in comparison to other chains…chains like Starbucks.

When it comes to comparing the two, I personally enjoy both: Dunkin’ is cheaper, and has quality foods and beverages—it fills the desires of its consumer without embellishment. Starbucks can, however, be more appealing for its aesthetic and its healthier options. Whether you opt for Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks for your caffeine-fix really depends on your personal preference, budget, and the proximity of either chain.

One of Dunkin’s strongest qualities is its affordability. At the time of this publication, a small Dunkin’ coffee, without sugar or cream, is $1.59. At  Starbucks, a plain coffee is $1.89, and at McDonald’s, it’s only $1.00.

This brings up the issue of quality. In the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) of 2017, Starbucks scored 77% for their satisfaction rate, while Dunkin’ Donuts scored 79%. McDonald’s trailed behind, scoring 69%. These rates suggest that Dunkin’ is among the leading in coffee and overall quality in America, above its most substantial competitors.

Dunkin’s appeal can also be stronger to inhabitants of the East Coast. There are over 8,500 Dunkin’ franchises in the United States, a vast majority of those being on the East Coast. Starbucks locations, of which there are a little over 13,000, are comparably more spread out in the U.S.

The reasoning for Dunkin’ having more locations on the East Coast could be because it was founded there, in Massachusetts specifically, and has been establishing itself as New England’s primary supplier of fast-service coffee since 1950.  The concentration of Dunkin’ Donuts chains in one specific area can also be explained by the brand’s image as a simple and necessary supplier of breakfast and coffee.

Other chains, such as Starbucks, supply their customers with an experience, the image of which has only augmented with the advent of social media. Starbucks not only sells complicated coffees, but they also are heavily concerned with their brand. Throughout various social media platforms, such as Instagram and Twitter, users around the world are constantly sharing and posting pictures of their Starbucks drinks, either boasting about trying out a new creation or solely for the aesthetic.

Starbucks’ sales boom usually around Christmas, during which it debuts and brings back various exclusive coffees with a (peppermint) twist. Other seasons reap similar marketing strategies, as Starbucks capitalizes on upcoming trends to appeal to an audience that is growingly preoccupied with life that is virtually attractive.

Essentially, these chains fits the needs of various types of people. If you only seek an energy boost in the morning, Dunkin’ Donuts is likely the place to go. However, if you crave an order more complicated than a small coffee with two sugars, Starbucks might have the extra oomph you’re looking for. There are two Dunkin’ Donuts on the way to the school bus stop in the morning, and considering that I probably have less than $5 on me at any given time, I’ll opt for the East Coast giant—but that’s just me.