It’s a sweet salute to the members of the United States armed forces--on Wednesday, November 11, veterans and active duty military are invited to participate in Dunkin' restaurants nationwide for a free donut of their choice, no purchase necessary.
“You can just walk in and say your a veteran or active military and Dunkin’s all across Anne Arundel County and across the entire country will receive a free donut,” said Colleen Krygiel, Dunkin’s Integrated Marketing Manager for the Baltimore-D.C. region.““Last year was fantastic. Our Dunkin’ locations that are very close to military area or bases, we do very well.”
The donuts are being offered while supplies last, with a limit of one per customer. The offer is available in stores only. It is not available for orders placed using On-the-Go Mobile Ordering through the Dunkin' Mobile App.
Dunkin’ offers about 16 to 20 classic varieties to choose from for the promotion.
“Every location is a little different with the varieties,” Krygiel explained. “We do look at this as an investment in the community. All our franchisees are local business owners and operators. We know that these veterans and military service members are customers that live in our communities—they’re our neighbors. We want to recognize them on a day like this.”
The Veteran’s Day donut promo is not business as usual for local stores. Extra effort and prep is required by staff.
According to the manager, the donuts are made at centralized kitchens. They’re baked every day during the night and delivered at around four or five a.m. every day. One of the kitchens in Elkridge. Stores also expect to have multiple donut order deliveries throughout the day.
“We prepare by anticipating a huge lift in donut orders,” Kryegiel said. “ We advise our franchises to create and order more donuts than on a typical Wednesday. All the donuts are made fresh daily.”
What are the popular favorites? Dunkin’ reports there’s definite preferences in recipes.
“A lot of folks like the glazed donut with the chocolate icing and sprinkles,” Krygiel said. “A Boston creme, or a jelly-filled donut is always popular as well.”
Her preference is for strawberry-iced donut with sprinkles, but she normally chooses not to over-indulge in the sweet treats even though she might have a ready supply as someone with close ties to franchisees.
“Sometimes my friends will give me a donut or coffee,” she laughed. “But I try to support them and pay for them when I can.”
Although the stores might record a loss on donuts for the day, ultimately the effort is also good for business over time, she said.
“We do see an increase in traffic when we run free promotions like this one. Specifically in this area, where there are so many vets and active military. It’s kind of a win for everyone.”
Due to the pandemic, there has been an increase in drive-thru and digital orders as well as “grab-and-go” carryout orders. Delivery through delivery apps are available but the free donut promotion is available by customer pick-up at the physical store only.
Dunkin is expecting a big customer response for the Veteran’s Day promo.
“We’re really excited,” Krygiel said. “Tomorrow’s going to be a big day for us. It’s a very, very busy day for us. In some locations it’s even busier than National Donut Day.”
Dunkin’ is also showing gratitude to those who serve, for the second year in a row, by teaming up with A Million Thanks, a nonprofit organization that supports active, reserve, and veteran military by sending millions of letters of thanks and encouragement directly to service members.
Dunkin' made a $10,000 donation to A Million Thanks and gave fans the chance to show their appreciation to veterans by crafting their own digital letters via Dunkin's Instagram story on Monday, November 9. Digital letters will be printed and mailed to active military members within the A Million Thanks community.
"We're pleased to once again partner with A Million Thanks to recognize veterans and offer free donuts as a small token of our thanks for all the courageous members of our armed forces, past and present," said Jill Nelson, Vice President, Marketing Strategy at Dunkin'.
Following the brand's donation to A Million Thanks, Dunkin' extended its support to United States military families with critically ill children--the Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation is gifting the Believe in Tomorrow Children's Foundation a $25,000 grant.
The Believe in Tomorrow Children's Foundation provides premier hospital and respite housing to children receiving treatment, and their families, to bring comfort and hope to those battling life-threatening illness.
Finally, in addition to sending digital thank you letters, Dunkin' fans can treat veterans and active service members to a much-deserved Dunkin' coffee break. At DunkinCoffeeBreak.com, anyone can send an e-gift card, available in special Veterans Day designs, to veterans that inspire them.
"At Dunkin', we are committed to honoring the dedicated members of our military, not just on Veterans Day but year-round,” Nelson said. “We're proud to keep our heroes running, at home and at our restaurants on active military bases around the world."
Dunkin's commitment to supporting the U.S. armed forces includes the Dunkin' Coffee for Our Troops program, the company has donated more than 300,000 pounds of coffee to troops deployed overseas.
Through this program, Dunkin' sends a case of coffee to deployed troops each week, based on recommendations from friends, family members, or the troops themselves. Since 2003, the brand has sent over 240 pounds of coffee to active military members each week.
More promos are on the way for the holidays she noted, including offerings of peppermint mocha, holiday donuts and coffee specials
Dunkin was founded in 1950. It is regarded as market leader in the hot regular/decaf/flavored coffee, iced regular/decaf/flavored coffee, donut, bagel and muffin categories. The company has earned a No. 1 ranking for customer loyalty in the coffee category by Brand Keys for 14 years running. It has more than 12,600 restaurants in 40 countries worldwide.
--portions of this article were compile from a Dunkin' press release
Unrelated Delicious Donut Moments from the Department of Defense: