Chieftain Press

Dunkin’ Donuts v. Starbucks

Erin Alzapiedi and Kayla Lawlor

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Once upon a time, there was a person who invented coffee. Let’s call him Kaldi. Kaldi was a goat herder. One day, Kaldi noticed his goats were acting excited and discovered they had been eating coffee beans. Overtime, the magical powers of coffee spread around the world and were exploited for money and profit. As consumerism grew, so did the sale and distribution of coffee. Then, out of the dust, rose Dunkin’ Donuts. The nation rejoiced. But then came Starbucks Coffee, and hashtags. That is how the #DunkinsorStarbucks debacle was born. Well, sort of. The polls are in, and the majority of Nashoba twitter users, sixty-four of whom who voted, think Dunkin Donuts is best. Why?

A lot of people argue that the quality of one store is better than the other. Dunkin’ Donuts is renowned for its cheap and tasty menu, ranging from doughnuts to breakfast sandwiches, as well as coffee. Although relatively inexpensive, DD does offer delicious food that can satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. However, Starbucks also offers baked goods, sandwiches, and coffee.

So what’s the difference? Well, some say Starbucks is too expensive, inconsistent, and often takes longer to make. Yet Starbucks has a wide variety of specialty drinks including frappuccinos, lattes, coffee, and tea, all with “a more wholesome taste” compared with Dunkin’ Donuts’ drinks, according to one Nashoba student. Others argue that the two coffees are equally good.

One major factor in the debate is location. As we look to the west, this argument becomes irrelevant; there simply aren’t any Dunkin’ Donuts shops. Starbucks has many locations all over the country and is the main coffee seller everywhere in America other than east coast. It makes sense then, that Starbucks is the crowd favorite on the west coast. When it comes to New England and other areas along the east coast, there is an obvious concentration of Dunkin’ Donuts chains, making it the New England favorite.

ddvstarbucks map

While the Starbucks vs Dunkin’ Donuts debate is largely based on location, factors such as marketing and audience also play a role. The marketing is different for each company, the largest difference being the image they send out. Dunkin’ Donuts is portrayed as the affordable company that keeps America’s working class running. Their image is accessible and convenient for everyone. Starbucks puts a stronger emphasis on ambiance and lifestyle. Their dark lighting, mood music, and comfy chairs make it the perfect hideaway for a typical hipster or for anyone who needs a quiet place to get some work done.

Dunkin’ Donuts has been running print and TV ads for many years with the slogan “America runs on Dunkin’.” Those ads have largely helped to increase Dunkin’ Donuts’ profits and recently Starbucks has begun to run ads as well. Starbucks has even broken into the YouTube community, releasing informational videos about their processes and products. The Dunkin Donuts ads generally show people having fun with friends and smiling. Starbucks puts out a very different images of baristas and customers enjoying the lounge environment. Because of these different atmospheres, it is fair to argue that preference is a personal opinion with these two companies.

“Starbucks is all about the atmosphere with the lighting, music and interior design, but Dunkins is all about the speed, ease and quick drinks,” said self-proclaimed coffee expert, Tessa Lavan of New York. “You wouldn’t want to stay there. I evaluate going to Dunkin’s or Starbucks on a daily basis; Dunkin’s is less expensive, but Starbucks is better for hanging out or doing work.”

So which coffee giant would we recommend? Well, that depends on what you’re looking for. For the artistic hipster who wants to sit in a comfy chair and enjoy the calm atmosphere (or even snap a few pics), Starbucks is certainly the way to go. For the over-worked student on a budget who just needs their coffee fix, Dunkin’ Donuts is clearly the easier and more affordable option. It is understandable that Dunkin’ Donuts won the Chieftain Press twitter poll because the majority of Nashoba students are very busy and it is simply more convenient. Now the next time your coffee cravings kick in you won’t have to ask– you’ll know where to go. 

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