Starbucks vs. Dunkin’: What’s the Difference?


Starbucks vs. Dunkin’: An Overview

Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) and Dunkin’ Manufacturers (DNKN) are the 2 largest eatery chains within the U.S. specializing in espresso. Each firms provide comparable espresso choices—though totally different meals choices—and each have comparable general methods. Nonetheless, there are key variations of their business models associated to scale, retailer possession, and branding.

Regardless of being based 20 years after Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks grew aggressively and is a considerably bigger firm. Starbucks generated over $23.5 billion in 2020, whereas Dunkin’ Manufacturers’ annual revenues have been $1.3 billion in 2019.

Starbucks has a bigger footprint, with over 30,000 places worldwide, in comparison with Dunkin’ Manufacturers’ 13,000 places. Within the U.S., Starbucks leads with about 15,000 places in comparison with the almost 9,600 Dunkin’ Donuts places.

Starbucks has expanded past the U.S. extra extensively. Dunkin’ Manufacturers has a considerable worldwide presence, although lots of its worldwide places are Baskin-Robbins ice cream shops slightly than Dunkin’ Donuts shops.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ worldwide income contributes solely a small half to whole gross sales, whereas over 25% of Starbucks’ revenues are generated exterior the U.S. Dunkin’ has introduced aggressive worldwide and home enlargement plans with the hope of difficult its principal competitor’s footprint, however the distinction in scale stems from variations in enlargement technique.

Key Takeaways

  • Starbucks and Dunkin’ are the 2 greatest coffee-focused eatery chains within the U.S.
  • Starbucks is a much bigger firm when it comes to market capitalization and the variety of shops globally.
  • Starbucks has additionally constructed a extra premium model, has shops that look extra like a snug espresso home, has a extra intensive menu, and higher product customization.
  • Dunkin’ shops resemble extra conventional fast-food eateries they usually provide extra aggressive pricing relative to Starbucks.
  • Most of Dunkin’s shops are franchises, the place it has higher publicity to franchise and rental earnings.


Starbucks manufacturers itself primarily as a beverage supplier that gives a extra typical espresso home eating expertise. Starbucks’ places are designed with the consolation of shoppers in thoughts. Free web entry and alluring decor are supposed to provide a extra engaging choice for these on the lookout for a spot to learn, chill out, or chat with pals. This additionally makes going to Starbucks a possible social exercise, turning the shop right into a vacation spot slightly than a easy distribution location. This appeals to clients in search of a premium expertise.

Sometimes, such clients have larger disposable incomes and are extra prepared to pay additional for larger high quality supplies. In economic downturns, individuals with decrease disposable incomes usually tend to alter their consumption habits than individuals with bigger monetary cushions. Whereas Starbucks is undeniably impacted by the macroeconomic setting, it’s firmly established with a extra resilient and fewer price-sensitive buyer base, which helps to dampen the blows introduced on by financial cycles.

Like Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks has additionally shifted focus to incorporate extra merchandise aimed toward afternoon and night clients. These embrace small plates and sandwiches in addition to wine and beer. Each firms have doubled down on strategic tech initiatives like cellular ordering and supply, explaining Dunkin’ Donuts’ partnering with Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOG) navigation app Waze.

Similar to Dunkin’, in mid-2018, Starbucks reorganized administration. Starbucks introduced Howard Schultz’s departure from the corporate in 2018. Myron E. Ullman was appointed the subsequent chair of the Starbucks board of administrators, and Mellody Hobson was appointed vice chair.


Dunkin’ Donuts markets itself primarily as a espresso vendor that additionally presents donuts and meals, a truth made obvious by a espresso cup prominently featured on the corporate’s emblem and government administration’s specific assertion that Dunkin’ Donuts is a beverage firm. Regardless of constructing an identification as a espresso vendor, meals remains to be an necessary ingredient of Dunkin’ Donuts’ providing.

Lately, Dunkin’ Donuts has centered more and more on nontraditional meals choices with the hopes of attracting clients exterior of breakfast hours. The introduction of steak to its menu in 2014 was a step towards incorporating heartier meals gadgets alongside a rising variety of sandwich choices. Dunkin’ Donuts’ interiors are designed in a different way from Starbucks shops, with the previous usually resembling quick meals shops in furnishings and decor.

David Hoffman was named CEO of Dunkin’ Manufacturers in 2018. In 2016, Hoffman joined Dunkin’ Manufacturers as president of Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. He led the corporate’s U.S. enterprise and directed the espresso chain’s new idea retailer. Hoffman will exchange Nigel Travis, 68, who’s retiring from his function. Travis started as CEO in 2009. He’ll serve as government chair of the board and give attention to growing the worldwide enterprise.

Key Variations

Practically all of Dunkin’ Manufacturers’ places are franchises. Licensed Starbucks shops are disproportionately situated exterior the U.S., as corporate-owned and operated shops account for roughly 60% of shops in the united statesand half of its places abroad.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ larger publicity franchises resulting in a essentially totally different enterprise than Starbucks’ largely owner-operator mannequin, which has main implications for income streams, value construction, and capital spending.

Firm-operated shops have totally different operational and capital expense buildings from franchised places. Cost of goods sold (COGS) and retailer working bills are a a lot bigger share of gross sales for Starbucks than Dunkin’. As a result of COGS is a lot extra distinguished in Starbucks’ expense construction, its earnings are extra severely impacted by modifications in espresso bean costs. Starbucks additionally has a better capital expense burden than Dunkin’ Donuts, which isn’t obligated to buy kitchen gear for franchise places.

Starbucks has constructed a extra premium model than Dunkin’ Donuts. Starbucks presents a extra intensive menu and extra product customization, which is bolstered by writing every buyer’s title on the facet of their cup. The corporate presents a snug and quiet setting with free wi-fi web entry, encouraging clients to remain to socialize, work, examine, browse media, or hearken to music whereas consuming their Starbucks product. Taken collectively, these elements type a extra premium expertise and command a better value level.

Dunkin’ Donuts has extra aggressive pricing, specializing in the center class. In firm filings and earnings convention calls, Dunkin’ Donuts’ administration has described its intent to be the bottom value supplier out there whereas sustaining high quality above an appropriate minimal.

As a result of Starbucks operates its personal shops, it has tighter margins than Dunkin’ Donuts. Dunkin’ Donuts has usually had a decrease capital expense burden than Starbucks. | Starbucks vs. Dunkin’: What is the Distinction?


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