Dunkin’ Donuts is so ubiquitous these days (especially with all those locations opening in California), that it’s difficult to imagine that once upon a time the chain was a fledgling start-up just like any other. In case you were wondering where the chain started, here’s its origin story.
William Rosenberg opened his first restaurant in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1948, called Open Kettle. The following year the name was changed to Kettle Donuts, and in 1950 he finally settled upon Dunkin’ Donuts. The inspiration behind the restaurant, which served only doughnuts and high-quality coffee, was Rosenberg’s experience as a food seller at construction sites and factories, where he noticed that doughnuts and coffee were far and away the top sellers.
Dunkin’ Donuts was an immediate success, and it took only five years before others expressed an interest in franchising. By 1963 the chain had expanded to 100 locations, 1,000 locations were open by 1979, 2,000 in 1990, and 3,000 by 1992. By the end of 2011, there were more than 10,000 locations open worldwide, and today there are nearly 11,000.