Dunkin’ Donuts to shut down 800 stores nationwide, but local franchisee has other plans

This Dunkin' Donuts store on Far Hills Avenue north of Whipp Road in Washington Twp. hosted its grand opening in January 2019. Dunkin’ Donuts announced on July 30, 2020 that it will shut down 800 stores nationwide, but Dayton-area franchise owner Pat Gilligan says is seeking to add more doughnut shops, and has no plans to close any of his southwest Ohio locations. MARK FISHER/STAFF

Operator of doughnut shop's SW Ohio locations is looking to add more locations after resuscitating brand in Dayton

Dunkin’ Donuts announced last Thursday that it expects to permanently shut down 800 stores nationwide in 2020, but the franchise owner for nearly all but one of the chain’s doughnut shops in the Dayton area and southwest Ohio views things a bit differently than his stores’ corporate parent.

Pat Gilligan — who almost single-handedly resuscitated the Dunkin’ Donuts brand in the Dayton-area market as president and CEO of its southwest Ohio franchisee, Gilligan Company LLC — is looking to expand, not shrink, the brand’s footprint in the Miami Valley.

“We aren’t’ closing any,” Gilligan said. “We are continuing to build.”

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Dunkin’ Brands — the parent company of the doughnut-shop chain now officially named Dunkin’ but still widely referred to as Dunkin’ Donuts — announced the cutbacks as part of its second quarter 2020 earnings report that was released Thursday, July 30.

“The company expects that approximately 800 Dunkin’ U.S. locations, including the previously announced 450 limited-menu Speedway locations, may permanently close in 2020,” Dunkin’ officials said in the quarterly earnings report. The 800 locations would represent about 8 percent of Dunkin’ total restaurant footprint in the U.S.

The goal of the closures are to set up the chain’s U.S. system for “continued strong, profitable future growth,” company officials said.

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Dayton-area doughnut enthusiasts are certainly doing their part to help Dunkin’ achieve that goal.

In 2013, shortly after he secured the franchise rights to become the owner-operator of Dayton-area Dunkin’ Donuts stores. Gilligan vowed in an interview with the Dayton Daily News to open a dozen or more new Dunkin’ shops in the Miami Valley over the next several years. It was an extraordinary promise: the Dunkin’ Donuts footprint in the Miami Valley had shrunk to just one store in Miami Twp. that was (and still is) co-branded with Baskin Robbins Ice Cream and remains under separate franchise ownership.

This Dunkin' Donuts store on Far Hills Avenue north of Whipp Road in Washington Twp. hosted its grand opening in January 2019. Dunkin’ Donuts announced on July 30, 2020 that it will shut down 800 stores nationwide, but Dayton-area franchise owner Pat Gilligan says is seeking to add more doughnut shops, and has no plans to close any of his southwest Ohio locations. MARK FISHER/STAFF

Seven years later, Gilligan is well on his way to fulfilling his promise. He has opened locations in Kettering, Centerville, Sugarcreek Twp., Fairborn, Washington Twp., Springfield, Riverside, and most recently, Dayton and Beavercreek.

In addition to an array of coffee and espresso beverages, Dunkin’ serves a menu of hot teas, frozen beverages, doughnuts, other bakery goods as well as a selection of sandwiches. Most new Dunkin’ restaurants offer free Wi-Fi, interior seating, and drive-through service. The shops also offer mobile ordering and a DD Perks rewards program.

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