Shott On Location: The Down-Low On That 'Upscale' Dunkin' Donuts

DunkinDonuts2 Shott On Location:  The Down Low On That 'Upscale' Dunkin' DonutsSo this is the “new look” Dunkin’ Donuts: garish orange and pink signage, comfortless metallic chairs, raffish menu graphics.

Kinda like the old-look Dunkin’ Donuts–and catering to the same ol’ stereotypical clientele: cops.

Around 3 p.m. on Thursday, the newest corner location for D.D. franchise Centurian Plaza Donuts LLC, located at 20th Street and Third Avenue, was crawling with recruits in Police Academy uniforms.

This reporter was expecting more distinct changes in appearance and customer base, after reading January’s Crain’s article.

The company was said to be unveiling a “more upscale store model,” in order to lure white-collar workers away from Starbucks. The new 243 Third Avenue location, which opened on Wednesday, was supposed to be the premier outpost of this a la mode makeover.

The change was so subtle, however, I needed to hike six blocks to the next nearest Dunkin’ Donuts on Third Avenue, at 26th Street, to even notice.

It seems to come down to this: The new look features trendy track lighting in the seating area; the old model uses mere Kmart-style flourescent bulbs.

If the purveyors of the big Box O’ Joe truly want to hone in on the yuppie crowd, perhaps they should borrow a page from the Starbucks playbook–and get themselves a decent wireless-Internet provider.

It took about 20 minutes for this observer to hijack an external wi-fi connection. By that time, my marble-frosted donut and small black coffee were completely consumed.

- Chris Shott