Starbucks vs. Dunkin’ Donuts: which is better?

Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have long been competitors. Dunkin’ Donuts, the Massachusetts-based coffee shop, first opened in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1950. Its popularity quickly grew in the Northeast and throughout the country. Over 20 years later, Starbucks opened its doors in Seattle and the two coffee giants began a competition for business that still lasts to this day.

Since its inception in 1950, Dunkin’ Donuts has provided food of various kinds made in-house. As its name suggests, the company’s primary focus has always been donuts.

However, the question remains: which is better?


Specialty drinks

For all those coffee lovers who can’t do without a $5 latte every morning, Starbucks is the place to be. With or without the secret menu, patrons of Starbucks are sure to find a trove of uniquely flavored beverages of various temperatures.

Meanwhile, at Dunkin’ Donuts, such a variety isn’t as widely advertised. The crafty coffee connoisseur can come up with creative combinations with the menu offerings and various flavored syrups, but the apparent variety is less.



Starbucks produces its own food items. Kids who otherwise have no interest in Starbucks’ fare could be consoled with a black and white cookie or a slice of marble loaf. For a time, the Seattle-based coffee chain outsourced its food production to a California cafè chain, La Boulange. Since June 2015, Starbucks has gone back to providing its own food.



The largest argument to spring from the parties is the quality of the respective establishments’ coffee. Starbucks is well known for its variety and specialty beverages, while many rely on Dunkin’ Donuts for a straightforward cup o’ joe. 

However, a Huffington Post article found the question is not “which cup is better?” Instead, the question involves location. Each company flourishes in its home region, though Dunkin’ Donuts has a much stronger hold over the northeast than Starbucks over the west.


Franchise combinations

The closest Starbucks has gotten to a franchise combination was La Boulange in 2015. However, that pairing was short-lived, and the coffee giant has begun to produce its own snacks once again. 

Dunkin’ Donuts, on the other hand, has had a long history as a partner with Baskin-Robbins, the ice cream brand. The combination has helped save the ice cream shop, which is also a part of the Dunkin’ Brands company. 



Surprise, surprise — Florida is a territory of Dunkin’ Donuts. While Starbucks has colonized USF’s campus, its competitor is not far behind. A branch on Fowler supplies students with their Dunkin’ cravings.

Ultimately, the two are pretty evenly matched, but each has its perks. So next time you get a hankering for caffeine, just keep in mind what you’re looking for and decide, accordingly.