Dunkin’ Donuts Vs. Starbucks: What’s Your Cup of Joe?

Who doesn’t like a nice cup of coffee in the morning (or for you die-hard coffee drinkers, a few cups throughout the day)?




It adds that extra little perk, making the first few hours (or last few hours) of work that much easier to get through. But, maybe you don’t have time, or you just don’t want to deal with making your own coffee? Well, both Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks have you covered. Now, these two different chains have gone through an interesting evolution at the top of the coffee food chain. Dunkin’ Donuts has made a rather impressive comeback in recent years as it started to fall behind other chains. Now, the two battle it out for your business. But when it comes down to it, what is your Cup of Joe?

For starters, Dunkin’ Donuts has been around much longer. It first opened up in the United States back in 1950, with Starbucks following two decades later in 1971. This is right around the time Dunkin’ opened its first international store in Tokyo (1970). Starbucks didn’t do this until 1996. In terms of actual growth and sales figures, Dunkin’ Donuts has more than 11,000 stores around the world in a total of 36 countries. Around 8,000 of these stores are within the United States. The company reported over $800M in revenue for 2015 (MarketWatch). Now, while it started up slower, Starbucks has quickly surpassed Dunkin’ Donuts for the supreme spot as the coffee king with over 20,000 stores in 65 countries around the world with a total reported $19.1B in revenue for 2015 (MarketWatch). 13,000 of their stores are in the United States. Put together, 60 percent of all coffee purchases made within the United States takes place in one of these two shops.

Dunkin’ Donuts built its reputation more off of its donuts than the coffee. While people would grab a cup of coffee inside, Dunkin’ really grabbed the attention of businesspeople by offering a wide variety of donuts for individuals to pick up and share with their co-workers. That is where Starbucks differs. Starbucks offers a more individualized experience, with food for singles. It also offers a coffee shop experience where guests could sit and work. So it really all depends on what you are looking for. Do you want a single cup of coffee with maybe an individualized snack and a place to access the Internet, or are you more interested in grabbing snacks for the office and some ready-to-go hot coffee without some of the extra thrills of Starbucks? Whatever it is you’re looking for, one of these two shops has exactly that.


Interestingly enough, there is not one clear American favorite when it comes to coffee. According to a study done by AggData, although Starbucks has national coverage and Dunkin’ Donuts has been around longer, in some parts of the country, neither one of these coffee giants ranked at all. We borrowed this map below from Flowing Data to see how coffee chain preferences differ across the country. You might be surprised to see the results. Let us know what’s your favorite coffee chain and why? Is it Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks or neither?  Share it with us in the comments below!