By Robert Lillegard
Dunkin’ Donuts is not a brand to shy away from big plans. In 2005, the Canton, Massachusetts-based brand closed its last store in Minnesota, but loyal fans waited for its return. After years of yearning, they heard the news. The brand announced plans to triple its U.S. franchises within the decade, including 100 stores in the state.
That was 2008—and it didn’t add a single one.
Six years and two “bring back Dunkin’” Facebook groups later, the chain is back with a decidedly more modest goal of 50 stores. With franchisees lined up and a store already open in Rochester as of this summer, plans are progressing. But can the brand overcome the problems it faced in 2005 and 2008?
Whether the display of nutrition information on restaurant menus leads consumers to order a more healthy meal is up for debate. What’s not, it seems, is that consumers want this information—and increasingly, they expect it.
In Jodi Schoenauer’s last two years as director of marketing and sales at Nath Companies, which runs Axel’s and Bonfire restaurants, requests came in daily from customers wondering where they could find nutritional information. And when Schoenauer tried to explain why—because Nath has fewer than 20 locations it isn’t required to provide nutrition counts—she was met with hostility.
Savory cocktails may be high on consumers’ list of adult beverages, but that’s not why Bloody Marys are still popular for breakfast, brunch and evenings. The number of Bloody Marys on menus at U.S. bars and restaurants climbed 8.2 percent from the third quarter of 2013 to the third quarter of 2014, according to Technomic, a Chicago-based foodservice research firm.
The drink has an 80-year history and is easily refreshed by changing ingredients to up the inventiveness of the drink, while staying faithful to the original intent. Infused vodkas and toppings such as mini cheeseburgers, bacon strips and crab claws add to the adventurous transformation of tomato juice.
Where does time go when you’re having fun? Summer memories bring back reflections of the annual Toast and Taste at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum held in July. They dub this fundraiser the “best outdoor party of summer,” and it just might be true. Marketing Director Barb DeGroot reminded me it’s also a “wonderful opportunity to enjoy fresh and local samples from Twin Cities eateries and sip regional wines and beers … as well as find yourself surrounded by flowers in the Arboretum Gardens.” In addition to the beauty of Mother Nature this year, they also had the stunning “Nature in Glass “ exhibit of blown glass flowers, created by artist Craig Mitchell Smith (shown above at check-in by DeGroot). His colorful and delicate floral displays were spread out in more than 30 spots throughout the garden. (more…)
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