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BusinessWeek reports on the efforts by Dunkin' Donuts to take the offensive in the marketing and public relations battle with Krispy Kreme.

On the face of it, Dunkin' Donuts shouldn't be considered the underdog. It has $2.8 billion in annual sales and 3,800 stores nationwide, compared to Krispy Kreme's $492 million in annual sales and 292 stores. But every time Krispy Kreme opens another unit, the cars line up at three in the morning, the local press waxes rhapsodic about the glories of a Krispy Kreme doughnut, and the folks at Dunkin' Donuts headquarters must shake their heads in frustration.

Convenience, according to BusinessWeek, is "what has made Dunkin' Donuts thrive. In the densest parts of its core New England market, it boasts one store per 6,750 people (Krispy Kreme until now has aimed for one store to serve 100,000). In some places, four or five Dunkin' outlets can be found within a half mile of each other, each with cars lined up through the parking lot and out onto the highway shoulder during morning rush hour. For Boston-area commuters, stopping at a Dunkin' Donuts outlet for coffee in the morning is about as routine as getting dressed."

The goal for Dunkin' Donuts is to get even more convenient - opening 342 new stores this year in the U.S. and 630 more in 2004 -- the equivalent of more than three entire Krispy Kreme chains. It also will continue to stress its coffee service, and will bring out a line of espresso drinks that it believes will be as flavorful as Starbucks' at just a fraction of the cost.
KC's View:
We were sitting watching out son's baseball game Sunday morning when a man walked by the stands carrying a box of Krispy Kremes - immediately igniting a discussion among the various spectators about which was superior - Dunkin' Donuts, Krispy Kremes, or Bess Eatons (another New England chain).

Our view? Well, we think it is sort of like the difference between being Presbyterian, Catholic, and Jewish. They're all different religions, but the basic values and ethics are the same.

The real key here - the thing that retailers should pay attention to - is the fact that consumers tend to feel passionate about their preferences. If we were a retailer, that's what we'd be going for - creating a shopping experience that people would feel passionate about. It'd even be okay if some people hated us…it would mean that we stood for something.

And, as John Mellencamp once sang, "You've got to stand for something, or you'll fall for anything…"

(Parenthetical note from a proud parent: Brian's team won 8-6, he went four-for-five, had two RBIs, scored once, played a great third base and was named the game's MVP. This temporarily took our mind off Krispy Kremes…)