How one big investor is “playing offense again”

Patricia Sellers interviewed Carlyle Group’s Sandra Horbach, who heads the private equity giant’s consumer and retail group, at the Women’s Alternative Investment Summit in New York last week. I shared a few highlights, and since the session drew terrific audience feedback, it’s worth giving you more of Horbach’s smart talk about managing through the recession, investing into the recovery, and navigating a career in private equity, where few women dare to tread.–Patricia Sellers.

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Nigel Travis on CNBC: Economy & Increased Competition

Dunkin’ Donuts, the world’s largest coffee and baked goods chain, has seen increased competition lately with McDonald’s McCafe and Tim Horton’s growing presence in the US. Nigel Travis, CEO of Dunkin Donuts, discusses the company’s outlook with CNBC.

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Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Served Here

It sounds like a developer’s dream: open a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise near a major commercial building or hospital. Employees, visitors and patients will surely stop in for a cup of coffee on their way in, their way out or during a break. Landing such a development deal would surely be profitable—even in a tough economy. But, as many franchise owners have learned, profits dry up and customer counts drop when the building lands its own deal to sell Dunkin’ Donuts coffee on-site. Restricted for DDIFO Members Only

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DDIFO Releases AAFD Grading Report to Members and Takes the Clock Down

Over a year ago DDIFO commissioned the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers (AAFD) to review and grade the Dunkin Brands franchise agreement. The AAFD thru a group of executives, entrepreneurs and attorneys have worked for over 15 years to set standards for franchise agreements to make them more fair and equitable. The ultimate goal was to make franchising work better for everyone, believing that a spirit of communication and mediation led to better relations and business results. The AAFD set of standards are referred to as the “Fair Franchising Standards”, In the fall of 2008 DDIFO felt that the existing franchise agreement was causing excess friction and litigation between Dunkin Brands and the franchisees. DDIIFO felt this situation was caused in part by an inequitable franchise agreement, and that the litigation had not been good for the Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee community.

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Dunkin’ Has Tamed ‘Wild West’ Of Social Media

Karl Greenberg writes in MediaPost that despite fears that “you don’t want to be the brand that gets dragged through the mud in social media or simply doesn’t get it,” Dunkin’ Donuts put its executive chef online for a live chat with people about its “DDSmart” line last January and brought in 55 fans and 150-plus comments. “That doesn’t seem huge, but when you think of the type of quality interactions these people had, it spreads a lot further than that,” Ben Smith, interactive marketing manager at Dunkin’ Donuts, told a roomful of attendees Thursday at “Fast Forward 2011,” the Promotion Marketing Association’s second annual Digital Marketing Summit held at Google’s New York offices.

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Judge Declares Mistrial in Suit Against Dunkin’ Donuts

Paul Grimaldi writes in the Providence Journal that a federal judge declared a mistrial Friday in the case of a Vermont businessman suing the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee shop chain after jurors admitted discussing their views of the trial among themselves. “I think this jury is thoroughly infected,” said Senior U.S. District Judge Ronald R. Lagueux. “One juror clearly expressed an opinion about who should win the case.” Lagueux made his decision after lawyers for the businessman, Irwin Barkan, sought to have a mistrial declared after just the first day of a hearing on his lawsuit. The judge said he would reschedule the trial sometime in January.

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J.M. Smucker 2nd-quarter Profit Soars on Coffee

The Miami Herald reports that J.M. Smucker Co (SJM.N), best known for its peanut butter and jelly, posted higher-than-expected quarterly results, driven by strong margins at its Folgers coffee business, and raised its full-year profit view, sending its shares to a new 52-week high. Overall gross margin rise to 33.8 percent from 28.9 percent in the year-ago period. About 90 percent of the rise in gross profit was because of Folgers, the company said.

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Dunkin’ trills about Fa-La-La-La Lattes

The staff at the Boston Globe reports that the Dunkin’ Donuts publicity department doesn’t believe much in down-time, where carpal tunnel syndrome is presumably rampant among the prolific flacks typing up all those press releases. In today’s news flash, the Canton-based coffee-and-baked-goods chain wants its caffeine-swilling public to know that its “Fa-La-La-La-Lattes” are part of its holiday promotions.

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Carlyle to Run Conn. Roadside Service Stops

Thomas Heath of The Washington Post writes that the Carlyle Group said Thursday that it has signed a deal with Connecticut to refurbish and run the state’s 23 highway service stops in return for a share of the revenue over the next 35 years. The District-based private-equity giant and its partners will invest $178 million in the state’s roadside service centers as part of the agreement, which will include putting Subway restaurants as well as Dunkin’ Donuts locations in the centers, according to a Carlyle spokesman. Dunkin’ Brands is owned by Carlyle.

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Coffee and Donuts Need Lobbyist Too!

Erika Lovley at Politico Click interviews Cicely Simpson, director of federal and state government affairs for Dunkin’ Brands, who has one of the most scrumptious lobbying jobs in town.

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