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Dunkin Donuts Tests First NorCal ‘Store of the Future’

Nitro cold brew, mobile ordering, and a sleek modern look are all part of the new concept

The cold brew taps at DD’s Quincy, MA location
Dunkin’ Donuts

A Dunkin’ Donuts of the future is headed to Concord next week as the chain launches its first Northern California “next generation concept design” store. It’s also one of the first restaurants to test signage that reads only “Dunkin’,” dropping the noun that has been the company’s raison d’être for over fifty years.

The new store, which opens at 5 a.m. onTuesday, August 28 at 4383 Clayton Rd., is a sleek relative of the chain’s pink-hued brethren, and one of only fifty of its kind planned to open in 2018. Like McDonald’s and other fast food chains, part of the goal is to slim down human labor with the installation of digital kiosks. The new store is focused on making the experience quick, pumping up mobile ordering with curbside delivery — also a clear challenge to Starbucks’s continued domination of the mobile ordering game.

Product offerings will also change, starting with the coffee. There’ll be iced tea, cold brew, and nitro cold brew coffee on tap. And in addition to espresso machine upgrades, a new machine will grind and brew each cup to order, taking a page out of popular Bay Area chain Philz’s “one cup at a time” handbook.

For the humans who can’t wait more than one second for their coffee or yogurt parfait, the grab-and-go section has also been increased with an array of fruits (bananas, apples, “mini oranges,” and grapes), squeezable applesauce pouches, beef jerky, and more (not unlike the check out line at Starbucks).

Dunkin’ Donuts

Finally, doughnuts. Yes, there will be doughnuts despite the company’s attempt to write them out of the will signage. Though the layout of the Concord store has not yet been revealed, if it’s anything like the first iteration in Quincy, Massachusetts, the doughnuts will be displayed closer to the customer in large glass display cases.

As Eater National reported in April, reactions to the changes have been mixed, particularly in New England where Dunkin’ is a way of life. In the Bay Area, where the the openings of stores in Walnut Creek, South San Francisco, and American Canyon were heralded by transplants and die-hard fans, it seems likely that people will take what they can get, including deviations from the traditional. The chain plans to open 1,000 more stores by 2020, including a location in San Francisco; this is the first next generation store in Northern California, in addition to Pasadena location that opened last week.

When it opens next Tuesday, the store will give away free coffee for a year to the first 100 people in line. So, rest up, Dunkin’ fans, it’s going to be a long night.

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