The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dunkin Donuts Gets Another Chance

dabrownman's picture

Dunkin Donuts Gets Another Chance

Called the local owner of the DD and another friend at a local TV station to have breakfast at the DD.  We all live in the same neighborhood, know each other from block parties and used to play golf now an again before I quit.  When my media friend arrived he saw me picketing outside the DD with a sign that read ‘No Artisanal Bagels Found Here’.  He cracked up laughing and we went inside to sit down to some free DD bagels that our friend and DD franchise owner retrieved still very warm.  Was surprised they weren’t horrible.   Had stopped off at Chompies to get a real bagel and had brought one of my own from the freezer – for comparison.  We tried all 3, agreed that mine were considerably better than DD’s and Chompies were better than mine by a wide margin.  Chompies web site is below, a nice Jewish bakery and only decent one in Phoenix thaat I know of, but I wouldn’t want to defend truth in advertising on their site either if you care to look.  But they don’t use the word artisanal or artisan – from what I can see.

I then whipped out the below and showed the DD franchise owner a print out of what I was going to email DD customer services at the link below.  I didn’t want him blindsided.

It read:

I really like your coffee but because of medical reasons I don't eat donuts. I do eat bagels that I make myself.  I’ve tried your bagels, mine are better, others agree, no question, but I refrain from calling them artisanal because I am not an artisan and they do not rise up to the definition of artisanal as a piece of art by those who really are artisan bagel bakers. 

Your current ad describing DD's new bagels as artisanal is misleading and I believe it to be false advertising.  I am asking you to pull this ad.  DD is a good company and I hope will choose to do the right thing in this matter.

Yesterday, I picketed my local DD with a sign that said 'No Artisanal Bagels Found Here.' I was doing it as a test just in case my request is not accepted.  I asked the manager to contact you directly. He was very nice and helpful.

I wish DD no harm and hope that this current ad is quickly put behind you so that you can continue to serve your customers in a fair, decent and honest way that DD is known for.

I asked the DD owner to contact the marketing folks at DD and tell them he was being picketed and I asked my media friend to cover it on his station.  My TV friend said that he wasn’t putting it on TV.   So I hit him up for a donation and he said he isn’t allowed to have a checkbook with him when he meets with me anymore.  I said he still owes me and will have to cover it if DD gets picketed all over the country by people like me who are customers and upset over this ad – when it started in his back yard.

I told the DD owner he will owe me too if he doesn’t make the phone call.  He said he would but thinks is was a regional ad back East since he didn’t know about it. That’s good I told him.  When DD finds out they were being picketed in AZ and the ad never played here, they will know people are upset and the word is spreading fast on the Internet and social media.  I invited them over for drinks and dinner if they bring the drinks, or a check, on Friday.

I got an automated reply from DD today that they got my email, was glad to hear from me and repeated it back to me word for word – in case I forgot what it said.  It went to say that someone would read it.  That is it so far.  Now, I have 2 more friends that think I am crazy.  Well, not really, but they are thinking about it :-)

We shall see if this has any effect.

You can contact DD by email if you want to see if it will have any effect. I suggest to be nice but direct and let them know you are a customer if you are.

Bake On

Crider's picture

I'm surprised they even do baked goods there. Their bagel product is developed so that a minimum-wage employee can make them, which to me means they come either flash-frozen or refrigerated. We don't have any Dunkin Donuts where I live, but our local Safeway supermarket did a big expansion/remodel last year and put in a 'bake shop' -- complete with fake wood-fired oven! I think their par-baked 'blanks' come from La Brea Bakery in Southern California.

Anyway, at least Dunkin' is brave enough to list their ingredients. Here's what they say is in their sesame bagel: Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Sugar, Malt Extract, Degermed Yellow Corn Meal, Yeast, Salt, Natural Ferment Flavor (Cultured Wheat and Wheat Malt Flours, Vinegar, Salt), Molasses, Dough Conditioner (Malted Barley Flour, Enzymes, Dextrose), Soy (Trace); Topping: Sesame Seeds.

Franchises seem weird to me. The franchisee must buy everything from Dunkin, and must agree to not alter the recipes or stray from the menu. If Dunkin comes up with a new product, they have to offer it to customers. I think franchises are usually successful, but the lack of freedom and creativity would drive me batty if I owned one of them.

dabrownman's picture

You can't make a living off of 1 either.  He has 3 -5? The franchise owners don't have many rights since they sign them all away to get the franchise and pretty much have to do whatDD corporate says.  After yesterday, I am sure the y are not the problem with the advertising DD is doing on the East Coast with bagels.  If cor[orate hears from enough of their customers they will cease.  They are not evil and like most folks - trying to along with each other and their customers.   I am sure they are fair decent and honest folks who will admit their error and pull the ad.  Folks do ge mad and do stupid things  when not offered the opportunity to fix things once they are pointed out though.  You would too if someone sued you out of the blue or brought charges with the government without giving you a face saving avenue to escape with your dignity intact.  I always prefer compromise and negotiation but sometime the best decision is saying no - we are going to court.  But that should always be the very last resort in my book.

Wild-Yeast's picture

Where to buy "Natural Ferment Flavor"?...,

Dabrownman, why not join the "Flour Child" movement? More militant would be "Flour Power" and for those that just like eating good bread "Flour Powered"...,

And so it goes...,


dabrownman's picture

I remember in college that the SDS came to campus to organize students to protest the Vietnam War.  this was in the other Manhattan, the one in Kansas.  They didn't have much luck but one night they did go nuts and tried to set the ROTC building on fire.  I say tried because, not being from around there, they set the Music building on fire by mistake and burned up all the instruments and  band uniforms besides the very nice old building.  The music majors were at first furious but their anger was tempered once they found out they would get a new building, instruments and band uniforms.  Eventually I think  they were grateful for unintended consequences.

I'm already part of the traditional conservation movement - which hardly moves as it is :-)

DerekL's picture

With regards to bread products in modern times, 'artisanal' has always been a marketing term and never has had anything to with artisans.  That small output bakers appropriated it for their own marketing does not change that.

dabrownman's picture

Artisanal doesn't even register as a word on my spell checker.  It was a non word created to be a buzz word by marketing types to imply that their product was made by real artisans -  the 'me too' marketing technique.  Some people bought into it as the marketers knew they would.  They say  'A fool is born every minute and people are easily fooled.'  This is just another example.

gerhard's picture

To me you are making a big deal about an adjective with no clearly defined meaning.  Now if they made products and advertised product as "no sugar added" and sweetened with glucose, honey or ...... 


P.S.  A Canadian publication called the Baker's Journal is available as a free download and this month has an article called "Words that Sell"  here is a link to the magazine

dabrownman's picture

is spot on.  Gerhard.  Working for 25 years in the wholesale; retail and food service business where our tag line was 'Purveyers of Fine Specialty Foods' we were always interviewing new manufacturers and food brokers who wanted us to distrbute their fine food.  Our first question was - What makes your food a fine specialty one?  And the second  - Why should we distribute it for you?  We turned down abput half, maybe a little less.

Not only am I making a very small deal, not a large on,  about a word that has no meaning - it isn't even a word.   The reason I am doing anything is because I don't want folks to be fooled into what the non existent buzz word was created to do - fool  people into thinking that the product was created by an artisan - a real word that used to have real meaning.

But it too has been dumbed down to the point where it too has no clear meaning.  It was dumbed down for similar reasons though.  In fact, I can prove it.  If you publish what the word has traditionally meant for thousands of years on this site and say few bakers today meet the definition - you will be visciously attacked by some for doing so - no questions asked.


Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

I could not stop laughing while reading your post.  I could just picture you with your picket sign.  I need a good laugh, thanks.

Yup.  Your crazy!!! (total complement)  Good to know I have kindred soul out there in the eithers.  Perhaps one day we could share a bagel in a rubber room somewhere.

dabrownman's picture

to do so.  Maybe we could have a Lender's Bagel together since he died this past week or two :-)  A real icon in the bagel business  and the first to make bagels available to the masses, way, way before DD.  'Tasty, healthy, satisfying, easy and convenient at a  bargain price' was his motto - never claimed artisan or artisanal.  I think he was in his 80's but the business was older.   His bagels were thankfully not for everyone of course.   I was working and living in Richmond when I retired.  I could have used a good bagel out of the WFO of yours.  Missed opportunity.

Love your posts and your breads.

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

...sometimes they bite...


But seriously, I went to check out a new Farmers Market on our local college campus today. I was asked (yet again) if my bread was 'Artisan'. As usual, I explained I didn't much care for the term, but it seems to be the only word that people use to describe handmade bread. Of course I use a mixer and my oven is electric, so maybe my bread isn't handmade after all....


dabrownman's picture

Sadly, I have no fear and am more stupid than ignorant.  I do know most folks are fair, decent and honest though and I think that this subject needs some serious civil discussion - and this is the place to do it.  If we can't do it here - then where can we?

It is hard to believe, but there are many smaller, some commercial, bakers out there, who fit the traditional definiton for  Artisan Bakers who create their bread totally by hand, from the finest ingredients they can source, who create bread that other professionals and laymen bakers consider art and bake in a WFO too.  For some reason the best bread I have ever had came out of a WFO.  You can't be big or do big volume unless you have many workers, you can't be cheap because you have few economies of scale and are labor intensive, you can't be fast, you can't be a lot of things other great bakers can be - but you can be an Artisan Baker.    These artisans are worth protecting from all comers and there are many well meaning ones who disagree with my feelings and thoughts.  That is fine too -no worries.  I'm a bread libertarian.  I can still have my opionion and it is aa valid as any.

I do like the term Certified Master Baker for other great bakers too which is no put down either.  They make as fine a bread as anyone no question about it - in a different way, method and process than the traditional meaning of artisan.  Some say process is most important and other say product is what counts.  I think both are important and need to be considered.

I too have a mixer I got for my wife 2 years ago, 2 electric convection ovens, one large and one small, even a bread machine somewhere,  but my bread will never reach the level of artisan by any definition.   Even if I made it totally by hand in a WFO,  it's not good enough because it will never be considered an art form  - just bread.

I don't think we will ever agree on a definiton as a group, nor should we - group think leads to bad things,  but we should be able to discuss it, hear everyone's well meaning opinions while being civil, empathetic and gracious.

Perhaps, politics, religion and artisan should always be off limits.  Let's see what happens.