America runs on just Dunkin’

By Pablo N. Garcia Rodriguez and Carla Vercellone

It was 1950 in Quincy, Massachusetts, when Bill Rosenberg founded “Open Kettle”, a coffee and doughnut shop later renamed as “Dunkin’ Donuts” [1] . But that has changed in 2018, and after 68 years of using this name, one of the biggest food chains in the world is changing and dropping its last name, resulting in just Dunkin’. The brand has received mixed reactions from confused consumers and fans from across the world (see at the end of this post).

Last year’s opening in Pasadena, Calif. of the first store with what is the brand’s new name today, meant a change was coming for its loyal consumers. Rumors had been swirling around about a new name, but it wasn’t until January 2018 that the coffee and food chain made a move and filed a new trademark application (87768615) with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (‘USPTO’) for goods such as hats, aprons, doughnuts and bakery products, etc., since it already owned the “Dunkin’” trademark for restaurant services, cafe services, snack bar services, carry-out food services from 2011 (4290078). Additional applications were filed including the characteristic orange and fuchsia color-combination, as well as the iconic design of the US map and the silhouette of a man running, – referencing their famous phrase America runs on Dunkin’®️. 22

Dunkin’. 2018. Photograph. Dunkin’ Donuts. Web. October 2018.

There are more than 11,300 Dunkin’ Donuts stores worldwide, with over 8,500 restaurants in 41 states across the U.S.A [2].  so it is not just a name change but a rebranding process directed to modify customer’s perception on the brand’s significance. Basically, there are three reasons why Dunkin’ is dropping “donuts”.

The first reason is that Dunkin’ Donuts’ top managers insist on its product diversification, making a reference to selling not just donuts but a wide range of beverages and other types of food such as sandwiches. Another relevant fact related to this is that coffee represents 60% of sales [3].  Secondly, Chief Marketing Officer Tony Weisman announced on its website [4] that its desire is to get closer to customers by settling on a first-name basis. The last reason is that, nowadays, society is going through times where personal health care is really important, so the brand is looking to relate to that idea and lifestyle.

The company’s efforts to modernize its arguably iconic brand helps shine a light on how important it is to protect the brand with a strong trademark foundation in place, whatever the reasoning behind such a change.



[1] “William Rosenberg”. En.Wikipedia.Org, 2018,


[3] “Just Dunkin’: Dunkin’ Donuts To Change Its Name”. WTTG, 2018,

[4]  “A Letter From Dunkin’ CMO Tony Weisman: We’Re Changing Our Name To Dunkin’”. Dunkin’ Donuts, 2018,


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