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Dunkin’ inches into pay-ahead, delivery

Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts has begun simultaneous tests of delivery service and order-and-pay mobile order taking, both of which could heighten competition in the breakfast market.

Archrival Starbucks already offers order-and-pay-ahead service and has been experimenting with both delivery by employees in high-rise office buildings and more traditional delivery by third parties.

Dunkin’s catch-up game will start with a single-market test of an order-and-pay-ahead system. Patrons in Portland, Maine, will be able starting this week to order beverages and food from the nearest Dunkin’ unit up to 24 hours ahead of time and pay for it simultaneously via an app on their smart phone. As with Starbucks’ set-up, the customers can skip the line and grab their coffee and doughnuts from a pickup station within the store.

The delivery test is broader-based.  It will start in Dallas and spread to Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., the franchisor said.  The DoorDash third-party delivery service is promising a delivery time of no more than 45 minutes.

Dunkin’ has an advantage over Starbucks and many other breakfast contenders in the breadth of it its menu. However, delivery will not be available until 7 a.m. It extends until 10 p.m.

The chain is a relative late entrant into delivery. In addition to Starbucks, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, KFC and Panera Bread Co. are also testing arrangements with third parties to bring orders to customers’ homes and offices.

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