Dunkin’ Donuts in the Mix?
BY NICK IRONSIDE // FEB. 5, 2014 //
Something is brewing at Curry College.
Administrators are currently exploring the possibility of bringing a Dunkin’ Donuts operation onto campus, according to Allison Coutts O’Connor, assistant dean of students.
O’Connor said the idea stemmed from a “Deans in Jeans” meeting last semester. Deans in Jeans is a program in which Curry administrators have informal conversations with students in the residence halls, to get feedback about life at the college. Students’ desire to have a food and beverage franchise on campus—specifically Dunkin’ Donuts—was a recurring topic, according to O’Connor.
This isn’t the first time Curry students have clamored for easier access to D&D. However, college administrators didn’t previously pursue the idea because they thought Dunkin’ Donuts would be turned off by the relatively small size of the school’s population, O’Connor said.
Students continued to push their desire, noting that colleges of similar size—such as Merrimack College in Andover, Mass., and Stonehill College in Easton, Mass. (both have roughly 2,400 students)—opened Dunkin’ Donuts franchises on their campuses in recent years. This past fall, a kosher Dunkin’ Donuts opened at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. (3,200 undergraduates and another 2,200 graduate students).
“Universities are increasingly looking for more amenities to offer campus residents and visitors, and our brand’s flexible design options couple convenience with great-tasting food and America’s favorite coffee,” said Grant Benson, chief financial officer and vice president of franchising and business development for Dunkin’ Brands, in an October 2013 article in the restaurant trade publication QSR.
Sodexo operates food services at Merrimack, Stonehill and Brandeis, just as it does at Curry. Keith Meal, Sodexo general manager at Curry, declined to comment for this story.
“I can say that the college is in the very, very preliminary stages of exploring [having Dunkin’ Donuts on campus] as an option,” said O’Connor. “We have been in touch with the Dunkin’ Donuts corporate office through Sodexo.”
Meal and representatives from the Dean of Students office gave a campus tour to a few Dunkin’ Donuts officials last fall, to help identify a location that might be able to run a franchise. Two of the main options were the Hafer Café and the Kennedy Café.
“We’re currently only working with Sodexo and the Dunkin’Donuts corporate office to have very preliminary discussions to see if this would be an option at Curry,” said O’Connor.
“We haven’t confirmed with Dunkin if they want to have a franchise at Curry, and there have been no conversations about contracts or agreements. We’re just trying to pull all the information together.”
Elton Silva, a senior at Curry double majoring in communication and management, interned with Dunkin’ Brands in Canton for six months last year and is currently involved in a second internship there. Silva said he thinks it is necessary for Curry to make food available on campus from a vendor other than Sodexo.
“In order for Curry to remain competitive with the surrounding schools, they need to offer more options and variety for food,” said Silva.
Junior community health and wellness major Michelle Currier said she would greatly prefer Dunkin’ Donuts to the Green Mountain coffee served by Sodexo throughout campus.
“I’ve grown up with Dunkin’ Donuts,” said Currier. “It’s one of those things. Do you get a Sodexo coffee or a Dunkin’ coffee? They’re incomparable.”
Patrick Ring, a senior community health and wellness major, echoed the preference and noted the potential for added convenience.
“It would save time,” said Ring. “I’ve been late for class because I have to drive to Dunkin’ to get decent coffee to fulfill my caffeine fix.”
A Dunkin’ Donuts store is located 1.8 miles from campus, on Route 138 in Canton, as well as 1.3 miles from campus, at 1800 Hyde Park Ave, in Hyde Park.