Dunkin' Used To Be Called Something Completely Different

Americans buy 60 cups of mocha lattes and classic cold brews from Dunkin' by the second (per Dunkin'), dress in the company's merchandise, and even occasionally use its locations as a wedding venue so they can exchange their vows with a beautiful view of Dunkin's glazed donuts (via NJ.com). However, despite the U.S.'s general adoration for the brand, both coffee and donut lovers' hearts were not stirred when Dunkin' revealed it was removing "Donuts" from its moniker in 2018, per Fox Business

This was probably because many people were already referring to the company as simply "Dunkin'" long before the brand chose to retire the donut portion of its name. So it seemed as long as breakfast lovers could still buy Dunkin' sweatshirts, they were content with the chain's new logo. However, there was a time when America did not run on Dunkin'. Per its website, when the chain whose pumpkin spice latte can go head-to-head with Starbucks's own first opened in 1948, its original name had more to do with tea time than breakfast favorites.

Dunkin's original name didn't even have donuts in it

You actually have World War II to thank for being able to grab a Dunkin' iced coffee. According to the brand's website, right after WWII, its founder Bill Rosenberg began a business that sold sandwiches alongside coffee and pastries. However, Rosenberg was only able to get the business, which sold its goods to hungry factory workers, off the ground thanks to a combination of war bonds and funds from his family. And it was this venture into the food world that made Rosenberg discover that people really love coffee and donuts. In fact, the duo made up almost half of his business's sales. This prompted him to put his sandwich-making to rest and fully commit to the breakfast biz.

And so, Rosenberg opened a donut and coffee shop in Massachusetts. According to Atlas Obscura, at the first-ever Dunkin' (where you can still grab breakfast today) you could buy coffee at 10 cents and a donut for 5 cents. But you wouldn't be scoring pastries and caffeine from a place called Dunkin' Donuts, but a restaurant known as the Open Kettle. However, while we know Rosenberg wouldn't change his restaurant's logo to Dunkin' Donuts until two years after Open Kettle started operating, how he got the inspiration for the name is less clear.

How the Open Kettle became Dunkin' Donuts

There are actually two different theories about how Dunkin' Donuts' name came to be. The first is that Bill Rosenberg was inspired to give his new business its now well-known logo after realizing many of his customers had a habit of dipping their donut in a cup of joe (per Atlas Obscura).

However, the other version (and the one that is actually vouched for by Dunkin' itself), is that it was actually an architect, not Rosenberg, who came up with the famous Dunkin' moniker. As the story goes, the then Open Kettle's Executive Architect suggested the name because dunking donuts in coffee was a tasty idea.

No matter which story is the real one, Rosenberg was quick to change the name of his business and before the end of 1954, five Dunkin' Donuts locations graced the United States (per Dunkin'). And the rebrand was definitely for the better. After all, would you want to buy a pair of Open Kettle or Dunkin' sneakers?