Vines: Dunkin’ Donuts a wasted opportunity


Katy Vines, Columnist

For almost as long as McDonald’s and Burger King have been competing for the title of America’s favorite fast food restaurant, another rivalry has been brewing — literally.

Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks have been fighting for the label of America’s most beloved coffee house. For a while, it seemed as if Starbucks had won the beverage battle on Northwestern’s campus since its installation almost seven years ago. Then, when Spring Quarter came this year, Dunkin’ Donuts came with it. Although it is always exciting when there are changes made on campus, this modification to Norris University Center leaves a lot to be desired because NU filled a spot in Norris with something we didn’t need.

Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t bring anything to NU that we don’t already have. In fact, we had the better coffee place, Starbucks, on campus first. People mainly utilize these stores for a lift in the form of a caffeine-rich cup of coffee. Starbucks coffee contains 20.6 milligrams of caffeine per fluid ounce while Dunkin’ Donuts coffee only contains 12.7 milligrams of caffeine per fluid ounce. If you want a pre-class or mid-afternoon boost, Starbucks is the place to go.

The worst part is, customers are not paying less for the lesser amount of caffeine! As the warmer weather rolls in, customers will probably be more likely to buy cold drinks. A small iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts costs $1.99 whereas Starbucks only charges $1.95. The prices are comparable at both stores, so it’s hardly practical to pay the same price for less of a boost.

Furthermore, the addition of Dunkin’ Donuts to Norris hinders healthy eating habits for consumers. A medium caramel iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts contains about 7.083 calories per ounce while the same drink from Starbucks contains about 6.875 calories per ounce. If you are drinking from Dunkin’ Donuts regularly, those few extra calories are going to add up. Besides buying beverages, customers of these stores often purchase food. Both places serve various breakfast sandwiches and sweets. But at neither place are these snacks necessarily healthy. Instead of adding a competitor store from which students will buy junk food like scones and donuts, Norris should have added a healthy alternative to the Starbucks upstairs.

There are so many different stores that could have filled the spot that Dunkin’ Donuts now occupies. One option is Orange Julius, which serves smoothies and juices, because it would be unique in Norris and healthier than Dunkin’ Donuts. Even if Norris didn’t focus on a healthy alternative, there are stores that could better serve the NU community than another coffee place. Almost everyone I have met here loves frozen yogurt but has to walk off campus to get it, which can be a pain especially if they live up North. A lot of people would enjoy if there was a frozen yogurt place in Norris.

Norris really couldn’t have gone wrong if they had picked any new place but Dunkin’ Donuts. It just doesn’t make sense to have two coffee places in one building, separated only by a floor. A better idea would have been to evaluate the interest of the community to see what we really wanted in that spot because at NU, we love diversity, and I doubt we would have settled for another coffee place on our grounds.

Katy Vines is a Weinberg freshman. She can be reached at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected].