A majority of Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners has signed up for the FLIP – a Brand and BAC led initiative to convert a majority of Dunkin’ shops nationwide to one technology platform. The platform includes March Systems video surveillance, Radiant POS systems, a price confirmation board for drive-thrus and handheld scanners for bar-coded merchandise and for processing credit cards, gift cards and coupons. 

“Now everyone can focus on improving reports and speed of service,” said Neal Faulkner, chairman of the Dunkin’ Donuts IT Subcommittee. “Everybody’s very excited. This is a huge win for the system. I hope those who didn’t sign up will now, more carefully, review the options.” 

As an incentive to get a critical mass of franchise owners to convert to the March/Radiant platform, the Brand offered incentives, including $7 million of its own cash and vendor incentives totaling nearly $60 million. 

“We are delighted that more than 70% of our Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants have signed up for FLIP.  A franchisee-led, collaborative initiative, the FLIP is one of the most important initiatives Dunkin’ Donuts has ever undertaken, and we believe having our restaurants on a unified retail technology platform will help us better compete and better serve our guests,” said Karen Raskopf, SVP of Communications for Dunkin’ Brands. “We especially want to recognize the efforts of the Dunkin’ Donuts Brand Advisory Committee (BAC) and the BAC IT subcommittee for helping to make this initiative a reality.” 

The decision to flip was a complicated one for many franchise owners, particularly those who had recently purchased competing systems – like Sharp – for their locations. The Brand’s incentives were designed to ease the cost burden for franchise owners to join the new program especially if they were close to remodeling their locations. In addition, the Brand and the IT subcommittee made it clear that after July 2012, Sharp systems would no longer be supported by the Brand. 

Technology has been a source of frustration for franchise owners for several years. From the days when Allied-Domeq owned Dunkin’ through today, multiple vendors have sought to get their point-of-sale and video systems placed in stores. As a result, many franchise owners had different systems throughout their network. Faulkner says that has made it more difficult for a store manager to move within an owner’s network and seamlessly control operations. In addition, Dunkin’ has seen its competitors improve their technology. Starbucks, for example, already has hand-held scanners to process credit cards, gift cards and coupons. 

Franchise owners have noted that many customers were reticent to purchase gift cards for regular use because not all stores were capable of reading them dependably. But, throughout this process, a major sticking point for franchise owners has been the March video system. There was concern that stores using March would give the Brand the chance to spy on their stores. 

Faulkner says that concern has been eliminated thanks to a new video policy which states, “It is Dunkin‘ Brands Inc.’s policy that it will not access data collected through the visual surveillance system prescribed as part of Dunkin’s restaurant system for the purpose of Loss Prevention or any other purpose other than to protect the reputation of the Brand.” 

Faulkner says the conversion to March/Radiant will result in less shrinkage, less duplication and more efficiency throughout the system. “That was the belief of the BAC and board of directors of Dunkin’ Brands. That’s why people put money into this because there was potential for long term savings for both the company and the franchisees,” he said.