Are You A Member of the Dunkin’ Tribe?

Do you really wanna be? Dunkin’ Donuts, now owned by Thomas H. Lee Partners, Bain Capital Partners and the Carlyle Group, is big on market research to keep up its torrid growth rate. A story in the WSJ a few weeks ago discussed how they decide which new cities to open locations in, using psychographic studies to gauge people’s values etc.

They call their loyal customers members of the Dunkin’ Tribe. They say that there is an unpretentious attitude that hates the Starbucks chain. Questions include whether someone has used his or her looks to get ahead, or whether it was important to live an upscale lifestyle.
So far the marketing folks have decided that about one third of the US is in the Tribe.

In Nashville the local manager has been asking workers to remember people’s names and drink orders. They even play music in some of their stores…a far cry from the old days when they first began in Massachusetts as a single cafe.

I often go out of my way to find a local coffee shop that’s not a Dunkin or a Starbucks. I like to meet the people who own and run smaller, local coffee shops to find out what they’re doing and I often bring back ideas for our cafe that I find in my travels.