Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Donut Wars

A new and explosive expansion of Dunkin' Donuts from their New England headquarters made news on National Public Radio this morning, and we are seeing an example of it here in Ithaca.

The angle on NPR was that Dunkin' D. is moving into the southern states, long the bastion of the legendary Krispy Kreme.

You might think you don't like donuts, and you might be sure, but if you have never had a Krispy Kreme, you have not really been put to the test.

I don't particularly like donuts, myself, but I lived in the south for a while, and can tell you Krispy Kreme is scary, like scary drugs.

As with drugs, it's not a question of liking, it's a question of succumbing. Chris Rock has a routine about Krispy Kreme, speculating that their main ingredient is crack cocaine.

As Keith Richards says, it's easy getting in, but it's a hard way out.

The angle here in Ithaca is that D.D. has opened a franchise on Meadow Street, right next to Collegetown Bagels.

It is more approximately a coffee war than a donut war. But it is an aggressive move by the out-of-town interloper.

The CTB location is their one and only drive-thru. With the plethora of good coffee places in town, it seemed like a competitive edge.

Now the edge of their property is a border with this decades-old mega-franchise. With a drive-thru.

Until now, the closest Dunkin' Donuts was in Owego. And it's not even a drive-thru.

A cursory look at the prices at both establishments shows CTB a little cheaper for everything: coffee, bagels, donuts, etc.

Will cheaper prices, hometown status, and a good product be enough for CTB to compete with the clout of a national chain with a huge advertising budget, the legacy of the guy who made the donuts, and very, very bright awnings? With 5 outlets in Ithaca, CTB is not used to the position of underdog.

In the interests of conscientious journalism, this week Ithaca Blog will do a comparison gorge at each establishment, and bring you the report.

Don't worry. We can quit anytime we want to. Just like Keith.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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