Dunkin’ Brands Group is one of the world’s leading franchisors of Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) serving hot and cold coffee and baked goods as well as hard ice cream. They franchise restaurants under the Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins brands. They have over 20,500 points of distribution (retail stores) in more than 60 countries worldwide.

Dunkin’ brand is 100% franchised business model and believe that this model offers strategic and financial benefits; such as being able to focus on menu innovation, marketing, franchisee coaching and support, and other initiatives to drive overall success of their brand. Financially their franchised model allows them to expand points of distribution (retail stores) and brand recognition with limited capital investment by the Corporation.

Dunkin’ divides its business into four segments: Dunkin’ Donuts US, Dunkin’ Donuts International, Baskin-Robbins US, and Baskin-Robbins International.


Dunkin’ Donuts – U.S.

Dunkin’ Donuts is a leading U.S. QSR concept and is the QSR leader in donut and bagel categories for servings. Dunkin’ Donuts is also a national QSR leader for breakfast sandwich servings. Since the late 1980s, Dunkin’ Donuts has transformed itself into a coffee and beverage-based concept and is a national QSR leader in servings in the hot regular/decaf/flavored coffee category and the iced regular/decaf/flavored coffee category, with sales of approximately 1.7 billion servings of total hot and iced coffee annually.

Baskin-Robbins – U.S.

Baskin-Robbins is one of the leading QSR chains in the U.S. for servings of hard-serve ice cream and develops and sells a full range of frozen ice cream treats such as cones, cakes, sundaes, and frozen beverages. Baskin-Robbins U.S. segment has experienced comparable store sales growth in six of the last seven fiscal years.


For year ending December 2017, Dunkin’ brands had $12,506B global system-wide sales which generated a total of $860,501,000 in revenue (see chart of segment breakdown).

Dunkin’ generates revenue from four primary sources: (1) royalty income and fees associated with franchised restaurant, (2) rental income from restaurant properties that they lease or sublease to franchisees, (3) sale of ice cream and other products to franchisees in certain international markets, and (4) other income including fees for the licensing of the Dunkin’ Donuts brand for products sold in certain retail channels (such as Dunkin’ K-Cups’ pods, retail packaged coffee, and ready to drink bottled iced coffee), the licensing of the rights to manufacture Baskin-Robbins ice cream products to a third party for sale in US, franchisee, refranchising gains and transfer fees from franchisees and online training fees.

This analysis focuses largely on Dunkin’ Donuts US segment since it is by far the largest segment by store count, revenues and it is management’s principle focus.


DUNKIN’ DONUTS STRATEGIC PLANS (Updated from Dunkin’ Brands 2018 Investor Day Presentation – February 8, 2018)

The Dunkin’ Brands Analyst Day offered a deep dive into operational initiatives embedded in the outlook for the Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. business, and guidance for longer-term financial targets. The Company’s plan balances near-term operational initiatives with a longer-term strategic outlook in an effort to modernize the Dunkin’ brand while protecting what is already a strong brand/organizational culture.

Plans Outlined at Analyst Day – Management presented their Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. blueprint for growth plans aimed at driving operational efficiency at the store-level, menu innovation platforms and digital efforts.

New Unit Growth – Dunkin’s new unit growth plan was updated at the Analyst Day Conference for Dunkin’ Donuts.

  • US New Unit Growth Plans:

o    1,000 new units by 2020

o    90% outside core markets

o    275 for 2018

  • SSS growth of 3% by 2020
  • Strategy Blueprint – beverage led and Grab & Go initiatives
  • NextGen Store – The Company recently opened the first iteration of its NextGen restaurant in Quincy, MA. Designed to cater to the on-the-go customer, the new Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant features innovative in-store technologies and design elements and is 25% more energy efficient than previous design. New technology includes a beverage bar tap system serving premium pours of cold beverages such as Nitro Coffee. The store also features grab-and-go snacks and a double drive-thru with preview boards and order confirmation screens. The crew members in the restaurant wear new uniforms and headwear designed in partnership with lifestyle brand Life is Good®. Dunkin’ Donuts plans to have up to 50 NextGen restaurants by the end of the year.

Menu Innovation – The Company recently hired Ms. Katy Latimer as Vice President of Culinary Innovation in an effort to support innovation of core products and supplement the Company’s already strong pipeline of culinary innovation. Going forward, menu innovation is expected to be led by beverage innovation. From a food perspective, value messaging around sandwiches and wraps is resonating with customers in test markets, and also supporting beverage attachment rates are helping to drive higher average tickets. The recent introduction of “Dunkin’ Duos” is helping to drive awareness and traffic.

Unparalleled Convenience – Dunkin’ recently hired Mr. Tony Weisman into the role of Chief Marketing Officer is working on an upgrade to drive-thru experience that seeks to improve guest convenience. The Company’s digital efforts also focus on driving members into the Perks Loyalty Program (which grew by 2 million incremental members in 2017 and now sits at approximately 8 million total members accounting for 11% of total sales. On-the-Go mobile ordering will also remain a focus going forward. During 3Q17, 3% of total transactions were driven through the mobile ordering channel.

Brand Accessibility – Dunkin’ aims to increase consumer accessibility to its brands through the continued development of points of distribution (including traditional franchise store locations and asset-light partnerships). The growth of branded products sold in the consumer-packaged goods channel is an important point of discussion as it relates to brand accessibility (noting that 6 out of 10 cups of Dunkin’ coffee are actually purchased outside of the retail Dunkin’ store).

Restaurant Excellence – One of the vital components of restaurant excellence is menu simplification. Dunkin’ is testing a simplified menu in approximately 5,000 locations in an effort to improve customer throughput while also driving top and bottom-line growth for franchisees. This initiative also helps to manage labor turnover as it reduces the complexity of in-store preparation for a wide range of sandwich and beverage products while also creating a buffer for menu innovation.

The Company has rolled out a simplified menu in many of its core markets and plans are in place to continue this roll out over the course of the first quarter. A 1% improvement in COGS (largely driven by lower waste), a 1% improvement in labor margins, and a 2% increase in order accuracy were seen. The reduced menu test simplifies operations and saves approximately 90 minutes/day/store.

The Company also discussed a plan for G&A optimization/rationalization to lead to G&A decreasing 5% in 2018 before growing in the 2%-3% range going forward.

New store equipment and technology – At the store level, the Company highlighted opportunities to help ease the impact from operational bottlenecks and ongoing labor inflation through the introduction of label machines for drinks, machines that help to calibrate coffee equipment, and other speed/accuracy solutions. Other technology solutions include point of sale system improvements that support conversational ordering (improving speed/accuracy of order taking), cloud-based pricing, seamless integration with delivery partners, and zero footprint training in addition to improved labor forecasting, inventory/cash/labor scheduling management.


The Company’s goals for Baskin Robbins, similar to the plans for Dunkin’ Donuts U.S., aim for product innovation – introducing digital (mobile app) tools and delivery. To that end it has overhauled marketing plans and is experimenting with more attractive franchise offers, including multi-unit offers to its top performers. However, the Company’s principal challenge with BR is to return its U.S. segment to growth, and so far, results have been disappointing. Store growth has been barely positive, revenues are flat to down slightly and segment profits are also basically flat.

Consumer Convenience – Baskin Robbins plan to continue to expand delivery options with almost half of all Baskin-Robbins locations in the U.S. now offering delivery through DoorDash.

Improved BR App and Online Orderings – Early in the second quarter of 2018, Baskin-Robbins plans to launch an improved app and online ordering system. This is expected to improve the guest experience, especially on mobile devices.

New Store Image – Late in the fourth quarter of 2018, Baskin-Robbins U.S. plans to unveil a new store look designed to appeal to guests of all ages.

Product Innovation – The brand is expanding its focus on beverages in 2018, including an increased emphasis on milkshakes, as well as focusing on ice cream cakes.


Dunkin’ Brands continues its work to stabilize its international businesses and, along with its franchisees, is focused on driving traffic through value offerings, product innovation, and making the brands more easily accessible through digital technologies.

Dunkin’ Donuts International is encouraged by the early results of its new restaurant design, which positions the brand as a coffee-focused chain. With 40 of the newly-designed international restaurants located in eight different markets, the stores are experiencing an increase in overall average weekly sales and, importantly, an increase in beverage units.

Baskin-Robbins International is focused on ice cream gallon consumption across the business: through stores, delivery, and consumer packaged goods. Sales outside of the restaurants have expanded the brand’s touchpoints, making Baskin’ more accessible and driving incremental ice cream sales throughout the year.

Delivery continues to be an opportunity for both brands, and the Company is working with its partners to roll out delivery programs in as many markets as possible based on the success that its Middle East and Asia franchisees are experiencing.


The Company plan is to double DD US stores to about 19,000. The plan envisions growth in store count to expand westward from its most mature region in the Northeast states (the core region) where its penetration is about 1 store per 8,600 residents through successively less penetrated regions to the Western region where penetration is just 1 store per 282,100 residents. To achieve its ambitions, it expects it can grow its footprint in every region, with the least in its core region (to 1:8, 100) and the most in the Western region (to 1:23,800).

DD domestic PODs range in size from 1,200 square feet to 2,600 square feet (source: 2017 FDD), from which is listed estimate average unit volumes of $930K, or about $547/sq.ft. assuming 1.7K sq.ft. average size.

In the 17Q3 Earnings Conference Call (most recent information) management reported the average capex for the domestic DD stand-alone traditional stores opened in 2015 in the least penetrated (and key to the growth strategy) “West and Emerging” markets (essentially the Midwest) was $500K and first year AUV’s and cash on cash returns were $900K and 20%, respectively; implying a cash contribution margin of about 11.1% of sales. While these returns are a slight improvement over the units opened in prior years, they are not compelling, before regional G&A. Perhaps they will grow to more attractive levels as the stores mature, but they may also explain the slowing pace of franchise investment in the past two years. Perhaps franchisees are awaiting the introduction of a new store prototype – NextGen. It said that a large number of stores are reaching their 10-year mark which will require remodeling under the franchise agreement. It also stated it was examining ways to help franchisees allocate capital between new stores, remodeling and the investments in new digital initiatives. In this regard, the Company appears to be contemplating co-investing with franchisees of both brands to accelerate development; but had not announced any initiatives yet.

Baskin Robbins domestic units range in size from 600-1,200 square feet, from which they estimate AUV’s of $235K or about $260/sq.ft., assuming 900 sq.ft. average size according to the 2015 FDD. BR units opened in the last 18 months generated AUV’s of $385K, the cash outlays for the units ranged from $200-$225K and the cash on cash returns ranged from 20-25%. At the midpoint the implied store level EBITDA margin was about 13% of sales. These margins are only slightly more attractive than DD U.S., but the Company has not provided more current returns as it has with DD U.S. BR does not appear in any FDD after 2015 except as a combo unit with Dunkin’ Donuts.

SHAREHOLDERS’ RETURN (Source – 2017 10K):

During fiscal year 2017, the Company repurchased a total of 513,880 shares of common stock in the open market at a weighted average cost per share of $52.90 from existing stockholders. The current dividend affords shareholders a current yield of 2.31%.

On October 25, 2017, the board of directors authorized a new share repurchase program for up to an aggregate of $650 million of its outstanding common stock. This repurchase authorization is valid for a period of two years and replaces the Company’s existing share repurchase program.

In February 2018, the Company entered into two accelerated share-repurchase agreements (the “February 2018 ASR Agreements”) with two third-party financial institutions. Pursuant to the terms of the February 2018 ASR Agreements, the Company paid the financial institutions $650.0 million from cash on hand and received an initial delivery of 8,478,722 shares of the Company’s common stock on February 16, 2018, representing an estimate of 80% of the total shares expected to be delivered under the February 2018 ASR Agreements. Subsequent to these repurchases, after buying back about 9.5% of the prior shares outstanding, debt will be approximately 5.5x which will be at the top of the range where management is comfortable.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS (Per Q4’17 Release and 2/6/18 Conference Call)

The comments below should be read in conjunction with the update from the 2/8 Analyst Day as described above.

Q4 highlights included Dunkin’ US comps of 0.8%, BR comps of 5.1%, 141 net new restaurants added worldwide, including 126 net dew DD stores in the U.S. Total revenues were up 5.3%, or 9.8% on a comparable 13 week basis, while diluted adjusted EPS was unchanged at $0.64. It should be noted that adjusted operating income was up 3.6% in Q4, up 7.0% for the full year, with adjusted EPS up 7.5% for ‘17.  The company emphasized that morning comp store sales at DD were up each quarter sequentially, and the fourth quarter was driven by iced coffee and frozen Dunkin’ Coffee. Customer counts improved in the last three quarters of the year, presumably still negative in Q4. More than two million people were added to the loyalty Perks program during 2017, bringing the total to about 8 million. A simplified menu was rolled out late in 2017, to be completed in Q1’18.  Baskin-Robbins had comp sales of 5.1% in Q4, driven by a higher average ticket, offset by a slight decrease in traffic.  The G&A expense target was reduced in two percent in January, which will be a 5% reduction from the ’17 level.

At DD, Q4 saw record breaking sales of breakfast sandwiches, for the fifth straight quarter. However, transaction counts declined in the pm daypart, accounting for over 75% of the full day declines. It is hoped that the simplified menu will reverse this decline. New enhancements of the digital platform and mobile app have been introduced in January. During Q4 the total of CPG products grew by over 30%. CPG products, across both brands, generated $850 million of retail sales, including $150M in ready-to-drink sales for the year. In addition to the 126 net new DD stores in Q4 (vs. 190 LY), 88 remodels were done in the quarter. For the full year, 313 net new DD restaurants were added, versus 397 LY. BR had 22 net new openings for the year, a record since going public in 2011. DD International was “stable”, with comps up 1.6% in Q4. BR International was relatively strong in Q4 with a 3% comp.

Management discussed that franchisees were continuing to respond favorably to the term renewal program offered in 2017, allowing renewal back to 20 years. At 12/31, about 75% of all Dunkin’ restaurants in the US had more than 10 years remaining.

Meaningfully, Management reiterated their previous indication that 2018 will be a year of “foundation setting, simplifying our menu and improving the restaurant experience, rolling out a superior restaurant back office system and building back up our innovation pipeline”.  This means: reduced operating margins this year (our interpretation), which will be at least partially offset by fewer shares outstanding.