Dunkin Donuts Logo Dunkin’ Donuts has been in the news lately, with their announcement that, “all its menu offerings nationwide will be zero grams trans fat by October 15, 2007,” as stated in the press release.

So far, the fast food donut/coffee giant is receiving some good reviews for their latest attempt to keep up with the mainstream trend of kicking trans fats.

Joe Scafido, Chief Creative and Innovation Officer at Dunkin’ Brands says,

“We are proud to be the first major quick service restaurant chain to introduce a doughnut that has zero grams trans fat, and are delighted that customer response to our new doughnuts has been unanimously positive.”  

Dunkin’ Donuts has a history of trying to keep their hand on the pulse of what the latest trends are, and reacting to that trend. Just take a look at their press releases from now, all the way back to 2003. Over the years they have jumped in with both feet joining forces with the public figures such as Red Sox star Curt Schilling, creating ties to the U.S. Ski Team and Snowboarding teams, and becoming part of the gourmet coffee bandwagon.

But with all of their focus on being trendy, have they started to confuse the billions of people around the world for their customers?

Last month my wife and I found ourselves in a series of unpleasant situations with Dunkin’ Donuts employees. On one occasion an employee told my wife that, “she knew she wouldn’t like a drink that she ordered,” and didn’t offer to replace the cold, watered down latte. On another visit, an employee accused me of forging holes punched in a frequent customer card, because of how worn it was. The fact is, it looked worn because it had been smashed in my wallet for weeks, but that didn’t seem to matter to the employee. I was so astonished by these incidents that I was compelled to send a complaint to a Dunkin’ Donuts consumer care representative.

Default Apology LetterA week later I received a default apology letter in the mail and 5 Dunkin’ Donut bucks. (Which I might note didn’t even amount to a full refund for just one of the dreadful visits.) If you want to read the touching manuscript, click on the image of the letter to the left.

You can focus on trends, buzz, celebrity endorsements, memorable ad campaigns, and quality products all you want, BUT without a focus on a relationship with the customer, all you will ever be is a one hit wonder.


So here’s the part where we get to hear what you think.

What could Dunkin’ Donuts, or any company, do to better create relationships with their customers?