The Real Reason Dunkin' Changed Its Name

Do you run on Dunkin'? According to the international pastry and coffee chain — with more than 11,300 locations worldwide and 8,500 locations in the United States alone (via its official website) — America indeed does. In 2006, the chain changed its official slogan to "America runs on Dunkin'," reflecting the harried lives of the average American and how Dunkin's myriad of coffee drinks help fuel our busy lifestyles.

If you think about that slogan, you'll see one thing missing: the mention of donuts: those O-shaped, deep-fried sweet treats we all love. When it was established in 1950, the chain was known as Dunkin' Donuts, as its main offering was that oily treat — with coffee as an afterthought (via NPR). But over time — as American dietary preferences shifted — the company began to subtly move away from its donut-focused identity, and towards one that more heavily promotes the coffee side of its menu.

More coffee, fewer donuts

If you grew up visiting Dunkin' Donuts, you likely remember the pastry-packed interior of your local store, its shelves crowded with freshly fried apple fritters, Boston Kremes, and French crullers. Sure, your mom or dad may have grabbed a hot coffee as they paid for your sweet treat, but there's no doubt that donuts were the focus at Dunkin' Donuts for a long time.

But over the decades, as Americans began to embrace healthier eating habits, more Dunkin' customers were ordering java and java-based drinks and going light on the fried pastry (via Delish). According to NPR, beverage sales — think iced coffees, cold brews, and sweeter treats such as milkshake-style Coolattas (via Dunkin' Donuts) — reached 58 percent of total sales in 2013, outselling donuts, muffins, and breakfast sandwiches. Dunkin' began to move away from the donut side of its menu, slashing 12 varieties from stores in 2011 (via Thrillist) before officially changing its name the following year.

"By simplifying and modernizing our name, while still paying homage to our heritage, we have an opportunity to create an incredible new energy for Dunkin'," the company's chief marketing officer, Tony Weisman, said in a statement at the time. One more reason Dunkin' has chosen to focus on promoting its beverage sales? Coffee has a much higher profit margin than donuts (via Delish). But never fear, donut lovers: Dunkin' stores still offer a selection of its top-selling donuts daily.