So we’ve turned the page and begun a new chapter at Dunkin’ Brands with the ascension of Dave Hoffman to President and Chief Executive Officer and the retirement of Nigel Travis. As we’ve often written here, change is inevitable and, ultimately, healthy. I would expect that to be true of this latest change as well.
But, before we focus on what Hoffman’s leadership could mean to the Dunkin’ brand – and how his story will be written – we must reflect on the accomplishments achieved under Travis. The first thing is to recognize the overall strength of the brand today – and we don’t have to look far to see it. In a couple of recent studies alone, Dunkin’ comes in No. 4 in the country by total unit count (Baskin was No. 17) and a solid No. 7 in the QSR Top 50 Brands listing with too many other accolades to list. The next thing is to acknowledge the relationship Travis forged with the franchisees.
When he arrived in Canton almost a decade ago, Dunkin’ franchisees were a fearful and disenfranchised group. Dunkin’ had a well-deserved reputation as the QSR sector’s most litigious brand. Hundreds of lawsuits were pending against franchise owners—seeking to strip them of their ownership status, collect royalty fees and flip their shops to new franchisees. (Much like the situation we’re seeing today with the Tim Horton’s brand.) It was a challenging time for franchise owners and a prominent blemish on the brand. Against that dark backdrop, Travis emerged as a leader with respect for the work and the value of the franchisees.
He also demonstrated his business acumen steering the company through the worst recession in a generation, then guiding it through a successful IPO. Seven years after going public, Dunkin’ Brands’ unit economics are strong and the DNKN stock price continues to hit record highs.
Wall Street will judge Hoffman, who spent two years as President of Dunkin’ U.S., by the numbers—stock price, same-store sales and new store openings, to name a few. Franchisees will also judge him by those metrics, in addition to his ability to work collaboratively with them and act in the interests of franchisees along with those of other stakeholders.
Speaking for this organization, which is focused solely on what’s best for Dunkin’ franchisees, we recognize that change in the corner office is often necessary, and new leaders often bring a new focus to the job. Of course there will be new challenges ahead, but as Travis demonstrated, with clear vision and purpose, success is there for the taking.
The recent passing of two American icons, Senator John McCain and Aretha Franklin, bring two words to mind: Service and R-E-S-P-E-C-T. One describes a man’s commitment to his country; the other an iconic musical appeal to humanity. Those words also have particular meaning within Dunkin’ Donuts.
As the voice of the Dunkin’ franchisee community, DDIFO wishes to thank Nigel Travis for his service to this company and for the respect he showed this brand’s shop owners during his tenure. At the same time, we respect the vision Dave Hoffman has for future Dunkin’ success, and welcome the opportunity to work cooperatively with him to overcome challenges and ensure continued success for Dunkin’ and its franchisees.