I'm tired of all the mindless folks out there always claiming how "expensive" Starbucks is compared to brand XYZ (Dunkin Donuts in this case). Not to dig too deep into it, but in my humble opinion, this fallacy originated at the fact that when Starbucks jumped onto the scene, they had an arsenal of beverages that extended WAY past "coffee". You had your Iced Caramel Macchiato, your Pumkin Spiced Lattes, Double_Decaffeinated Half-Caff (not really) and so one. These drinks typically carried a heftier price tag than, in my example, plain old Dunkin Donuts coffee. Be honest, all personal preferences aside, how many times have you heard or said "Starbucks is so much more expensive" or "I'm not paying five bucks for COFFEE"!!! Yep, you're on one side of that coin, can't deny it. (Except the tea and kombucha folks who refuse to conform to either corporate monster... kudos Moonglow!)
At any rate, I am a New England boy at heart and we grew up on Dunkin Donuts. In fact, if you were born in New England, coffee may have been the first beverage you drank after being weened off of baby formula. So I have a soft spot for the brand and the coffee is decent too. I moved to Florida back in 1991 and have done a fair amount of traveling across our great land so I have seen the Starbucks boom first hand. I was one of the folks who fell under the spell of Starbucks being the "third place between work and home" and became a fan instantly. I prefer the darker, bolder roast of Starbucks but won't kick a Dunkin Donuts out of a cup holder any day. Just like my palette has expanded with food, beer, wine and cheese, coffee is no exception. (Disclaimer: there are MUCH MUCH MUCH better coffees out there from places like Stumptown, Panther, Wells Coffee Co. and Sub-Culture, but this is about the DD -vs- SB showdown).
I digress... So today, while perusing "The Facebook", a good buddy of mine made a funny about the Obama "Latte-Gate" incident, where the POTUS tossed a lack-luster left-handed "salute" to the Marines as he was getting off of Marine one because his hands were full with a warm beverage from Starbucks. Not only did it kick off much political banter, it sparked the ole "Starbucks is so much more expensive than Dunkin Donuts debate. I giggled because being pretty unbiased, I've debated this many times and used my keen math skills to support my claims that Dunkin Donuts is in fact, more expensive than Starbucks. Now, there are numerous outlying factors that MIGHT change my math. For example, one gentleman claims that he has a super "golden-ticket" style receipt offer at DD that gives him a large iced coffee for only $1 after 2pm. So if he buys 2 iced coffees a day, he can in fact, lower his "cost-average". For the sake of my post, I am just rolling out my findings on an ounce-to-ounce price comparison of the two.
So at any rate, back to the Facebook banter... I happened to be sitting at home when I saw the debate start and said to myself that I should just swing by both places on the way back into work and put this to bed once and for all. So that's exactly what I did. I went to Dunkin Donuts AND Starbucks and ordered three(3) sizes from each place. I ordered a Small (Tall), Medium (Grande) and Large (Venti) from both. The first thing I noticed was that Dunkin Donuts' cups were smaller than Starbucks' cups. With this observation, I stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond and grabbed a liquid measuring cup to make sure I was playing fair. To support the pout test, I used my 20+ years in the food industry to look at the bottom of each cup where you can typically find a product number for the cup itself. That number almost ALWAYS contains how "big" the cup is in ounces.
- Dunkin Donuts' "Small" = 10 oz. / Starbucks' "tall" = 12 oz..
- Dunkin Donuts' "Medium" = 14 oz. / Starbucks' "Grande" = 16 oz..
- Dunkin Donuts' "Large" = 20 oz. / Starbucks' "Venti" = 24 oz..
So, as you can see, "ounce-for-ounce", Starbucks is in FACT cheaper than Dunkin Donuts. Yes, one can make an argument that if you look at each product as the comparison (i.e. "Small vs Tall"), then MAYBE DD could be considered cheaper but that's not real life pricing in the food world. I really just set out to set the facts straight and to open people's eyes to not always believe what you hear. As a marketing guy, the word on the street of Starbucks being expensive has worked in DD's favor. But educated folks are quickly realizing that a pumpkin spiced ANYTHING will be more that your Daddy's black coffee regardless of which place you prefer. I'd love to hear your feedback in the comments. Please keep in mind that I am a sensitive flower and can't take jokes or criticism. (Come at me bro!)