“Skin in the game,” is how Dunkin’ President Scott Murphy explains the decision to increase the number of corporate-owned locations. “It demonstrates to our franchisees that anything we ask them to do, we will now be executing at a large scale alongside them.”

While Dunkin’ has acquired franchise units from time to time – including five years ago – the move was typically designed to stabilize poor performing stores before reselling them. But the recent purchase of SMB Donuts’ 31-store Ohio network was designed to get Dunkin’ back into the retail business. Inspire Brands has made it clear there are no plans to spin-off the Ohio shops to another franchisee anytime soon. The company plans to own and operate the stores themselves.