I Dunk NY

There are a ton of chain stores in New York. Most of them serve food. While New York, with its dynamic and on-the-go lifestyle, prefers coffee to sit-down meals, the news still doesn’t sit well (no pun intended).

The top brands are outlined in a new study from The Center for Urban Future.

Retail chart

As you can see from the snippet of the above chart, Dunkin’ Donuts is leading the back by a considerable margin. Considering there are two Dunkin’ Donuts in Penn Station alone, I’m not that surprised. Although I wonder what this chart would have looked like only a few short years ago when McDonald’s and Starbucks seemed to be on top of the world. Since that point, Trans Fat has been banned, and the economy has turned to mush, which caused closings for McD’s and Starbucks, respectively.

From my observation, Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t enjoy any special reputation in New York. Yes, folks drink their coffee, but they lack that fanatical cult following of, say, Starbucks. I don’t know anyone who calls himself a “Dunkin’ junkie” or something similar. And I don’t know anyone who has ever worked at one, or bought a rewards card, or even uttered “I’m going to take my laptop to Dunkin’ Donuts”.

The reason they are king of NY is therefore not because of a great product, or resiliant brand, or understanding of local culture, or cashing in on a trend, or any other trait of specific New Yorkiness; instead, it’s purely logistical. You can open a Dunkin’ Donuts anywhere! I’ve seen Donut kiosks the size of a Manhattan closet. I’ve seen a Dunkin’ location crammed into the back of a bookstore, an office building and as I mentioned, the train stations. Because most locations don’t offer all products, they can pop up overnight and still make money — it’s a funny economy.

I wonder which chain has the most retail space, in terms of square footage. This will not only speak to their actual revenues (and therefore ability to pay NY rent), but also it will indicate how many New Yorkers actually want to spend time at such a location. Most people, on-the-go and always rushed, don’t use Dunkin’ Donuts as a destination, but rather as a midpoint en route to somewhere more important.

But I shouldn’t overlook Subway, which is only just below Dunkin’, and can boast more Manhattan locations. Duane Reade eats up a much more square footage, which means they must be raking it in hand over fist. It’s a lot to think about next time you’re itchy for something to snack on. Why not support the little guy?

via Gothamist »