Home Business and Labor Six Fun Facts About Dunkin’ Donuts

Six Fun Facts About Dunkin’ Donuts

Sugar, caffeine and directions

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Though Dunkin Donuts franchises have spread throughout the world, they are still identified closely with New England, especially Massachusetts and especially Boston.

Dunkin’ Donuts stores have evolved into important navigational aids in Massachusetts, which has the densest concentration of Dunkin Donuts stores in the country. Giving directions to lost visitors in New England usually involves making a turn at a Dunkin’ Donuts on the corner.

Dunkin’ Donuts is now technically Dunkin but New Englanders call things by what they used to be. Everyone calls it Dunks or Dunkies anyway. And everyone knows a “regular” coffee has cream and sugar — right?

Here are six more fun facts about the sugar-and-caffeine purveyor upon which America runs.

1. Dunkin’ Donuts does not take credit for inventing the Boston Cream Donut.

You would think a company so strongly identified with Boston might have had something to do with inventing the Boston Cream Donut. But you’d be wrong. However no one seems to know who actually did first slather chocolate on a cream-filled donut.

A Boston Cream Donut

Credit for the Boston cream pie goes to Boston’s landmark hotel, the Parker House. The hotel’s French chef, M. Sanzian, first put the concoction together in 1856. But food historians are silent on who adapted that recipe to the donut.

In 2003, the Massachusetts Legislature voted to make the Boston Cream Donut the state’s official donut. Dunkin’ Donuts weighed in with a press statement. “Dunkin’ Donuts sells its “Boston Kreme,” a yeast donut with a creamy vanilla center topped with a rich chocolate frosting, in approximately 800 shops in Massachusetts.”

2. The First Dunkin’ Donuts is still around.

You’ll find it in Quincy, Mass. William Rosenberg opened it as a small donut shop in 1948 called “Open Kettle.” Two years later he changed the name to Dunkin’ Donuts, selling donuts for five cents and a cup of coffee for ten cents.

Since then the company has expanded its offerings. It recently announced it would sell spiked coffee. That inspired one food writer to say she’d be Drunken on Dunkin’.

The original Dunkin’ Donuts in Quincy, after its remodel in the 2000s

3. Rosenbergs ran the company for 52 years.

Born in Boston in 1916 to German-Jewish immigrants, Bill Rosenberg dropped out of school in the eighth grade to help support his family. He worked for Western Union as a telegram delivery boy, then got a job with Simco, an ice cream delivery company. During World War II he worked in the Bethlehem Steel shipyard in Hingham.

Rosenberg borrowed $1,000 and took $1,500 in war bonds to start Industrial Luncheon Services, a company that delivered meals and snacks to factory workers in metropolitan Boston. He realized he mostly sold coffee and donuts so he started the Open Kettle. In 1959 he decided to franchise the operation.

His son Robert took over as chief executive officer in 1960 at the age of 25. He kept the job for 35 years, even after Allied-Lyons PLC bought the company in 1989.

4. New York state has the most Dunkies with 1,425.

But the Empire State only has one store for every 13,652 residents. Massachusetts has more than twice that per capita, with a Dunks for every 6,521 residents.

Connecticut ranks seventh in the number of Dunks in the state (behind Florida, New Jersey, Illinois and Pennsylvania), but second the number of stores per capita.

A Maryland Dunkin’ Donuts in the 1960s

5. Dunkies has inspired several books.

Robert Rosenberg wrote a business book, Around the Corner to Around the World: A Dozen Lessons I Learned Running Dunkin Donuts.  William Rosenberg wrote Time to Make the Donuts: The Founder of Dunkin Donuts Shares an American Journey,.

In quite another vein, Mark Staniforth published a book called Fourteen Dunkin Donuts Robberies. It includes the tale of a 17-year-old burglar in North Carolina. He got caught when he won the donut eating contest sponsored by the Elizabeth City police department. They’d been looking for him, and found him after he consumed eight glazed donuts in two minutes. He was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison, suspended. He then got caught again, allegedly breaking into and robbing a Dunkin’ Donuts.

Another hapless robber tried to hold up a Hartford Dunkin’ Donuts with a syringe. The robbery went haywire when he fell over the counter reaching for the cash drawer and an alert employee hit him on the head with a pot of hot coffee.

6. Fred the Baker came from Brooklyn, not Boston.

Michael Vale played Fred the Baker from 1982 to 1997 in Dunkin’ Donuts commercials. He was always tired because he had to get up early to bake fresh donuts. The ad agency chose him because of his likeability. His baggy eyes made him believable as a sleep-deprived donut maker who woke when it was “Time to make the donuts.”

Fred the Baker was so popular the company feared a customer backlash when they changed advertising agencies and decided on a new campaign. So they “retired” him by giving him a parade in Boston and giving away 6 million donuts in its 3,300 U.S. stores. He died in 2005 of complications from diabetes.

After Vale’s death, the company stopped making fresh donuts in nearly all of its stores.

Revere Dunkin Donuts (featured image): By Anthony92931 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22795185. Boston Cream Donut By Evan-Amos – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=. Original Dunkin’ Donuts By Cs302b I, Clayton Smalley, took this photo on August 29th, 2016. – Photo taken, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51017735.

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