Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Donut (and Coffee) Wars: Round 1

In our prior post, we promised a scrutinizing series on the new Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru and walk-in on Meadow Street, and its veteran next-door neighbor, the Collegetown Bagels Express.

Well, we didn't wait long to get started. We took a trip there this afternoon for a preliminary look.

The first thing that struck us was the long line of vehicles at the D.D. drive-thru window. Eight vehicles, in the middle of the afternoon.

We say vehicles because only one was a car. The rest looked like tanks, although we suppose they were only S.U.V.'s, but in that number looked like a sortie.

And our first thought was, people after donuts must be big people. Above-average, big people.

You can probably get that way pretty easily as a drive-thru donut place patron.

We went inside and saw two customers at the counter. So there is no way the service at the drive-thru was faster than service inside. The attraction of the drive-thru seems to be not having to stand up in one's quest of donuts. Which seems like a cause for a good, hard look in the mirror, so to speak.

At CTB, there was one car at the drive-thru. A sedan, regular-sized. There was a young woman at the wheel and she seemed regular-sized, and was smiling.

Inside there were three customers and they were all smaller than me, and I am a Large, but just barely - not a Behemoth. They were also smiling.

We are already seeing a trend.

You can see for yourself at a bargain price this week. The CTB Express has a coupon in the Ithaca Journal every day this month (we think) for a free 12-ounce coffee. No other purchase required. We think it is co-incidental to the Dunkin' Donuts opening. But it is fortuitous for research purposes.

We availed ourselves of a French Roast, and bought a Brownie, so as not to appear cheap. Also, because it is a Brownie. And we took them back to work, and the coffee was cooled down nicely, and went very good with that Brownie, and eased our afternoon work quite a bit.

So, Round One definitely goes to CTB. Tomorow we will see what Dunkin' Donuts has got in its bag o' tricks.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog


Mike White said...

what's more interesting to me is the fact that Dunkin Donuts used to occupy the very same space that the CTB drivethru is now in. Dunkin Donuts moved out of that space as well as their other location in East Hill Plaza some time ago. Apparently Ithacans eat more donuts now then they used to.

Kevin C said...

I wonder what Ithaca local person

owns this franchise? Is the DD a franchise store or a company owned store?

I give them points for adaptive reuse of a busted KFC joint...

It should be stated that the CTB location was formerly a DD location (or did I miss that?)

As a cafe operator, my tendency would normally be to say, "the more the merrier...all this development will serve to develop our local 'cafe culture'. But in this case, the cultural element is not such an advancement, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Dunkin' Donuts shops are each owned by local franchisees, not by a central corporation.

People in behomth SUVs in the drive thru are more than likely slender, subrbab moms with small children in car seats. It is much easier to gt your espresso fix, and some munchkins for the kiddies, in the drive thru rather than unbuckling and carrying one or kids in and out. Hard to accomplich a transaction while holding 2 or 3 squirming kids.

Of course, this kind of thing ould never occur to most urban hipsters, or their near urban single or othr childless equivalents.

Kevin C said...

Upon review of my preceeding comment, I'm motivated to extend my thoughts:

In terms of development, I think DD is an improvement and a good use of the space and location.

In terms of "the more the merrier", DD still solves for increasing general public awareness of coffee while encouranging consumption, which is good IMO.

In terms of "not such an advancement", I say this relative to an imagined & dreamy scenario where there is a thriving independent cafe on every corner and lively discourse and art happening in each one. Think "storybook old-world European", not reality as I know it.

No disrespect intended toward our new DD crew. I'll certainly buy my share of donuts.