Dear Mr. Travis:
We need to have a talk.
But before we get into that, first, hi! How are you? I find it interesting to see the face behind one of my favorite chain restaurants. Nigel Travis! You’re a jolly little Brit, how much fun is that? Odd, though, because Dunkin’ Donuts seems like kind of an all-American thing, but listen, WHO AM I TO JUDGE, Nigel. Oh, hell, who are we kidding, Nigel, I’m ALL ABOUT JUDGMENTS. It’s odd! IT IS ODD.
Anyway! That is neither here nor there. Well, no, I guess it’s kind of here, because there are some shenanigans afoot at the Dunkin’ Donuts, Nigel, and let’s get down to brass tacks, THEY ARE WORRISOME. Oh, I hope it’s ok that I take the initiative to call you Nigel. I mean, I don’t care if you don’t like it. Mr. Travis takes too long to type. Just letting you know. And also, we’re FRIENDS, Nigel. It’s totally rude you won’t let me call you Nigel. I mean, come ON. IN AMERICA WE ARE CASUAL ABOUT THE USE OF FIRST NAMES, NIGEL. ROLL WITH IT.
First, listen, this is all coming from a total place of love, I want you to know that. I used to be totally coffee-obsessed. Like, 5-8 cups of coffee a DAY. Caffeine coming out of my EARS, Nigel. GAS STATION COFFEE NIGEL. CALIFORNIA CRUDE. But then I started getting these severely crippling headaches, and after the doctor tried every medication known to man, he asked about what I was eating and drinking, and asked me to try cutting caffeine out of my diet, just to see what would happen. And I did. And listen, did you, or anyone, want to be around me in that month or so that I was caffeine-detoxing? No you did not. Because I was VERY SNAPPY. But come to find out, 5-8 cups of coffee a day and also a ton of Mountain Dew were causing the headaches, which I know, Nigel, is the OPPOSITE of what it does to most people, but blame that on my screwed-up body chemistry. So it’s decaf for me now. And I am VERY PASSIONATE ABOUT MY DECAF NIGEL ZOMG.
Anyway, for about five years, I lived in a town WITH NO DUNKIN’ DONUTS. Please let that sink in. Actually? No donut shop at all. None. Not a single one. We had a Starbucks, but they don’t have donuts and their coffee is kind of off-putting. I don’t want to memorize a whole script in order to get a coffee. I am not the 1%, Nigel. I am firmly in the bottom of the 99%. I want to order my coffee the following way: “Large. Decaf.” Then I want to add things to it, if I’m in the shop, or if it’s the drive-through, I order as if I’m Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, all “Skim milk and four Splenda, but make sure it’s decaf or I’ll die, and make sure it’s Splenda or I’ll die, and make sure there are four of them FOUR SPLENDA,” and I’m pretty sure the drive-through people hate me but THAT IS NOT THE POINT.
No donut shops. There was a coffee shop that had donuts, but only if you got there between 5-6am, and listen, that is EARLY and MY BED IS SO WARM. And the grocery stores had them, but they’re not good, let’s be clear about that. Grocery store donuts are ick. There was a Krispy Kreme two hours away, and sometimes people would bring us donuts from Krispy Kreme and they’d be cold by the time we got them but WE DID NOT CARE. We were like WOLVERINES with those donuts. NOM, Nigel.
So when I moved back to New York, how happy was I that there seems to be a Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner here? Your website informs me that, within a ten-mile radius of my home, there are fifty locations. FIFTY LOCATIONS NIGEL. That is bananacrackers. I can’t swing a yo-yo without hitting a Dunkin’ Donuts. Not that I’m all blithely swinging yo-yos. Who does that? I’m not a Smothers Brother for the love of Pete. Are they even still alive? They must be like 107 years old now or something.
I like to get Dunkin’ Donuts coffee about once a week. In the summer, I get a huge decaf iced coffee. In the winter, a huge decaf hot coffee. Once and a while, I get a breakfast sandwich. That’s all I get, because unfortunately, donuts are no longer allowed because my health is broken, but I like to stand in the shop and smell them. That’s still allowed. They smell like FREEDOM, Nigel. SWEET FREEDOM.
Dunkin’ Donuts coffee ROCKS, Nigel. Maybe what it’s made from will put a coffee-drinking grin on your face. (That’s from Saturday Night Live. As a Brit, maybe you don’t know about this skit. It was a while ago. A lot has happened since then. You’ve had a royal wedding, there was a movie about a stuttering king that won an Oscar. Here. Here is the transcript. I’m happy to help our friends from across the pond.) And I appreciate that your breakfast sandwiches are available all day long. Because listen, the fact that McDonalds stops its breakfast menu as early as it does makes me INSANE. Breakfast should be an all-day event, every day. This is a fact. Not an opinion, A FACT. No one will dispute this. Breakfast is DELICIOUS. We should always have access to breakfast foods. And Dunkin’ Donuts knows this! Thank you for that, Nigel. It makes me happy.
However, Nigel, getting to the crux of our problem; I think, perhaps, you’ve lost sight of why we’re all here. And I’m here to steer you back onto the path of righteousness. I wouldn’t do this unless I cared, Nigel. I really wouldn’t. I mean, I could care less what, say, Arby’s is doing. I have only eaten at Arby’s once in my life. So if Arby’s decided they were going to start serving baked Alaska, I’d be all, eh, whatever, you go, Arby’s. THIS IS SERIOUS, NIGEL.
Your background, according to your little “about the CEO” blurb linked to above on the Dunkin’ Donuts website, tells me you have been with Papa John’s, Blockbuster, Burger King, and the Lorillard Tobacco Company prior to this, your most prestigious gig, as the CEO of Dunkin’ Donuts. This…actually explains a lot. Because I don’t think you realize YOU ARE NO LONGER AT THOSE PLACES.
OK, Nigel, pop quiz. What are the two things people want at Dunkin’ Donuts?
The answer, of course, is donuts and coffee.
What has the Dunkin’ Donuts been out of when I’ve been to the three separate locations next to my office over the past month?
Donuts, which I was sent to purchase for my office; cups for the coffee, so they weren’t allowed to sell it to me; decaf coffee (one employee actually said “What? Decaf? What’s that?” ARE YOU KIDDING ME NIGEL); any sort of milk product; and any sort of non-sugar sweetener.
Then I see THIS when I was watching television yesterday.
This is, supposedly, a “smoked sausage sandwich on an English muffin.” Two separate people I spoke to when I saw this said they’d spoken to someone who’d eaten it and “this tastes like a hot dog.” Two others agreed with my sentiment that it looks vomitorious. Because it DOES, Nigel. Also? And here’s what’s really bothering me, other than the fact that THESE FOOD ITEMS DON’T BELONG TOGETHER and ARE THE KIND OF THING A STONED COLLEGE STUDENT WOULD THROW TOGETHER AT 2AM BECAUSE THEY HAD NOTHING ELSE IN THE KITCHEN:
IT DOES NOT BELONG AT A COFFEE SHOP.
COFFEE belongs at a coffee shop. DONUTS belong at a coffee shop. BREAKFAST SANDWICHES belong at a coffee shop. HOT DOGS ON AN ENGLISH MUFFIN don’t belong ANYWHERE, but they most CERTAINLY don’t belong in a COFFEE SHOP. Also, you’re marketing them as breakfast sandwiches. WHO EATS HOT DOGS FOR BREAKFAST. Also? I don’t want to walk into Dunkin’ Donuts, expecting to smell the sweet smell of donut happiness, and smell HOT DOGS. This is not the county fair. It is DUNKIN’ DONUTS. That is just HORRIFYING.
Another thing that doesn’t belong in a coffee shop that Dunkin’ Donuts has begun selling lately: These are HOT POCKETS, Nigel. WHAT IS HAPPENING. These are the kind of thing you get when you are driving and can’t stay awake so you stop at a gas station and warm them up in a microwave and they burn the roof of your mouth SO BAD but whatever, the blisters keep you awake for a few more hours. Also, the meat in these looks gangrenous.
Then there’s this: I’m not going to say this doesn’t belong at a coffee shop, but how has McDonalds not gotten on you for blatant thievery about this? Maybe because who can trademark a hot apple pie? Other than the thievery, I have no complaints about this. This looks delicious. But I can get one at McDonalds. And they are FIFTY CENTS EACH IF I BUY TWO NIGEL. Listen, these are TOUGH TIMES HERE IN AMERICA. I’m going with the fifty-cent apple pies.
For a while you had this waffle sandwich, and it seems to have disappeared. WHERE IS THE WAFFLE SANDWICH NIGEL. Listen, I don’t eat them because I think they would kill me, but McGriddles are DELICIOUS DEATH BOMBS. If you’re going to steal something, stick with the McGriddle rip-offs. Also, try to say McGriddles without smiling. YOU CAN’T. It’s relentlessly cheery. Find a name like that, Nigel. McGriddles! Hee.
Nigel, listen. I say this out of LOVE. I get where you’re going. I do. You want to stay fresh. You want to keep things new and exciting at the Dunkin’ Donuts. You want to introduce new products. But how about this: INTRODUCE NEW PRODUCTS WITHIN THE RANGE OF WHAT’S SOLD IN A COFFEEHOUSE. Coffee. Donuts. Pastries. Breakfast foods. A limited range of desserts. Once and a while, come out with something a little outside of the box – you did chocolate month in February, you do pumpkin month in October, these are NICE AND SMART IDEAS. Also? Make sure what you have runs smoothly before you throw a burned hot dog on an uncooked English muffin in the works. Things to ask yourself every morning:
- Do we have enough coffee for an entire day’s worth of customers?
- Do we have enough donuts (INCLUDING MUNCHKINS!!!) for an entire day’s worth of customers?
- Do we have enough cups for the coffee for an entire day’s worth of customers?
- Do we have enough sugar, non-sugar substitute, and cream/milk/half and half for an entire day’s worth of customers?
Can you answer yes to these questions? Then half the battle is won.
I am so worried, Nigel, that the next time I turn on my television I’m going to see an ad for “Dunkin’ Donuts new sandwich: the Dunkin’ Half Rack O’ Ribs” or “Dunkin’ Chicken Wings with Bleu Cheese Dressing” or “Dunkin’ Mozzarella Stix” because THIS IS WHERE THIS IS HEADED NIGEL.
I feel like maybe you think this is what America wants. And it is. It totally is. BUT! It is not what we want AT DUNKIN’ DONUTS. It’s what we want at Chili’s or Friday’s or something. Not Dunkin’ Donuts.
Coffee. Donuts. Maybe an egg sandwich at 3pm, because I can, and no one else lets me.
Nigel, I’m counting on you not to let me down. We had a revolution once. Americans are GOOD AT REVOLTING. That doesn’t mean we like FOOD that is revolting. Do not confuse the two.
Please feel free to consult me with any questions about your menu, going forward. I am happy to be paid in coffee.
Yours Most Sincerely in a Love of all Things Dunkin’ Except Hot Dogs on an English Muffin and Hot Pockets,