America may run on Dunkin', but soon the nationwide pit stop for caffeinated pick-me-ups and doughnuts is changing its brew-making process.
Since announcing it had dropped the pesky "Donuts" from its name, Dunkin' has undergone several big initiatives including installing espresso machines to make revamped specialty drinks, rolling out new eco-friendly cups and even making plant-based breakfast sandwiches permanent menu items.
Next on the coffee chain's list of improvements? Smart brewers.
In an effort to reduce waste and refine its coffee in 2020, Dunkin' is investing $60 million in "state-of-the-art" coffee making machines as a way to compete with more high-end offerings like those available at Starbucks.
Scott Murphy, president of Dunkin’ Americas, told TODAY Food that each franchise location will also be investing more of their own money into crafting better quality brews. Though Murphy would not specifically say how the new and supposedly improved hot coffee would taste, the new machines are designed to create more consistent coffee and espresso beverages, and will also allow workers to craft new types of drink recipes.
"The high volume brewers will enable us to expand the variety of drip coffee offerings, increase operational efficiencies, reduce waste and enhance quality consistency across the system," Murphy said. "We expect that it will also positively contribute to crew satisfaction."
The new equipment comes on the heels of two other recent upgrades for Dunkin' baristas to produce quality drinks. The first was updated espresso machines to make better lattes, macchiatos and cappuccinos at a faster pace. In 2019, the chain launched new machines to make iced coffee.
As the improvements rolled out last year, Dunkin's sales increased more than 2% (reaching a six-year high), and espresso sales bumped up 40%, CNN reported. While Dunkin' aims to level up with competitors like Starbucks with its rebrand, it actually surpassed its Seattle-based opponent in a popularity test last year, tying with Krispy Kreme as America's favorite coffee chain.
To keep up with changing tastes and millennial preferences for nondairy milks, the folks at Dunkin' announced that this spring, the chain will be rolling out its first latte made with oat milk.