Starbucks vs. Dunkin’ Donuts – Which Coffee Shop Will Come Out on Top?


Coffee is rarely just served black in a simple Styrofoam cup anymore; now it comes with syrups, sauces, creams, and a pretty price tag to go with it. In this edition of BUZZBATTLE, we send two of the nation’s most famous coffee shops, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, to battle. Customers across the nation are typically loyal to one brand or the other, especially Seattleites and East Coasters.

When you’re looking for a jolt of caffeine or a sweet treat, which coffee shop do you head to?

Skim over our findings, then place your order in our poll.

The Contenders

cup of coffee from StarbucksStarbucks
Founded: March 30, 1971
Current CEO: Howard Schultz
Headquarters: Seattle, WA
Global Locations: 20,891
Offers Franchising: No
Likes on Facebook: 34 million
cup of coffe from dunkin donutsDunkin’ Donuts
Founded: 1950
Current CEO: Nigel Travis
Headquarters: Canton, MA
Global Locations: 10,083
Offers Franchising: Yes
Likes on Facebook: 3.6 million

Round One: Menu Options

cup of coffee from StarbucksFrom its inception, Starbucks has enjoyed a reputation for inventiveness and its menu validates this.

From scones, muffins, and Danish, to breads, coffee cake and even marshmallow bars, Starbucks has a cornucopia of breakfast treats. And if you’re looking for something warm, you can get any of these items heated up or get one of their hot sandwiches, like the bacon and gouda artisan sandwich or spinach and feta breakfast wrap. If you’re looking for lunch, you can get items like a turkey rustico panini, classic ham and swiss panini and even an egg salad sandwich. Starbucks sells “Bistro Boxes” that are perfect for taking lunch back to the office, which include options like chicken and hummus or goat cheese with garden veggies. Starbucks doesn’t sell donut holes, but they do carry other treats, including cookies, cake pops, and tarts.

Starbucks offers a myriad of drinks, which are sold in Tall, Grande, and Venti cups.  In addition to basic coffee, Starbucks offers hot specialty drinks including hazelnut macchiatos, cinnamon dolce lattes, caffè Americanos and cappuccinos. Starbucks also serves cold and iced drinks, including a number of flavored Frappuccinos.
cup of coffe from dunkin donutsDunkin’ Donuts (DD) has been in the bakery business for over 60 years and now it serves up a lot more than donuts.

In addition to an array of hearty breakfast sandwiches like a classic bacon, egg and cheese on a bagel or the sausage, egg and cheese on a croissant, DD also offers a few heath conscious breakfast choices like egg white on flatbread. Dunkin’ Donuts serves muffins, croissants, biscuits, toasted English muffins, and, of course, a massive selection of donuts including the “munchkin,” an aptly named donut hole. There are also lunch options, like tuna salad and chicken salad wraps, Texas toast grilled cheese, and a turkey, cheddar, and bacon sandwich.

Dunkin’ Donuts has a reputation for offering basic coffee drinks, but you can still get a latte, cappuccino, or espresso at DD. There are a couple exclusive offerings, like adding a Turbo Shot of espresso to your coffee to jazz up your ordinary brew and the Dunkaccino, which is a blend of coffee and hot chocolate. There are also iced coffees, iced teas, and Coolattas, the DD version of a frozen ice drink. If you’re looking to get coffee for a group, DD offers the “Box O’ Joe,” which contains ten 10oz servings of coffee.

Round Two: Employee Perks

cup of coffee from StarbucksAlthough perks vary by employee position, a few benefits of working at Starbucks include a free pound of coffee each week , emergency financial aid, discounted merchandise, a discounted stock purchase plan and a stock equity reward program.
cup of coffe from dunkin donutsDepending on your position, some of the perks Dunkin’ Donuts employees can get include paid time off for volunteering, tuition reimbursement, discounted movie tickets, museum and aquarium passes, bulk coffee buying, pet insurance, long term care insurance, and 401k benefits.

Round Three: Stock Performance

cup of coffee from StarbucksStarbucks trades as Starbucks Corporation (SBUX) on the NASDAQ. According to YahooFinance, a year ago it closed at $57.94. On April 18, 2013, it closed at $57.72. Starbucks has a 52 week low of $43.04.
cup of coffe from dunkin donutsDunkin’ Donuts trades as Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. (DNKN) on the NASDAQ. According to YahooFinance, at this time last year, DD closed at $30.26. On April 18, 2013, it closed at $37.25. Dunkin’ Donuts has a 52 week low of $27.93.

Round Four: Employee Satisfaction

cup of coffee from StarbucksStarbucks received a larger number of employee reviews on Glassdoor. Of the 2,292 employee reviews, 78 percent would recommend the company to a friend and 85 percent approve of the CEO Howard D. Schultz. Overall, it earned a 3.6 star rating.
cup of coffe from dunkin donutsAccording to Glassdoor, of its 117 employee reviews, 43 percent would recommend DD to a friend and 50 percent approve of the CEO John Henderson. Overall, it earned a 2.9 out of a possible 5 star rating.

Round Five: Customer Reward Cards

cup of coffee from StarbucksStarbucks offers a rewards program called My Starbucks Rewards, which comes in three levels: Welcome, Green, and Gold. All registered members get a free drink or food item on their birthday. You acquire “stars” for each purchase and, after five, card holders move up to Green, which offers free in-store coffee or tea refills. Gold status is received after collecting 30 stars within 12 months. Gold customers get a free drink or food item every 12 stars, a personalized Gold card, and special offers. You can also add your card to your smartphone, which allows you to send eGifts and pay with your smartphone through the Starbucks app.
cup of coffe from dunkin donutsDunkin’ Donuts offers a basic customer card, with the main “perks” being convenience and the ability to customize it with any photo you’d like. If you’re a New Englander, your Dunkin’ Donuts card is almost as important to you as your government issued ID.

With the DD app, you can link your phone to your account, pay with it, as well as receive offers special discounts and promotions, and send virtual gift cards.

Final Round: The Best Brew

We want to know: When your taste buds are craving a Cup of Joe and a snack, which coffee shop do you head to? Which one should be our victor?