Running a restaurant requires high-quality food, hard work, marketing savvy and a well-trained staff. Adding sustainability into the mix can be a challenge for some concepts, but Dunkin’ Donuts has found a way to incorporate a “green” model that can help its operators thrive while also supporting the environment.
The company instituted its DD Green Achievement two years ago to ensure that franchise operators have the chance to meet their sustainability goals while also maintaining efficient restaurants. Dunkin’ Donuts has seen franchisees quickly adopt the model, which has advantages both for the company and for customers, who respond positively to the locations that are making sustainability a top priority.
SmartBrief sat down with John Herth, Dunkin’ Donuts’ senior director of global design and construction services, to get the details about how the chain is ensuring a sustainable future.
Can you tell us a little bit about the DD Green Achievement initiative, what it entails for your restaurants and what types of environmental strides these concepts make?
Dunkin’ Donuts recognizes that climate change is a global concern, and we wanted to launch an initiative that allowed us and our franchisees to do our part to identify and address our impact. We first started exploring sustainability options in 2008, when we opened our first LEED-certified restaurant. Then in 2014, we launched DD Green Achievement in an effort to provide a structured sustainability standard for franchisees to follow, and in turn, help us get closer to our long-term efficiency and sustainability goals.
The program comprises five stages — Site Development, Store Efficiency, Healthy Indoors, Sustainable Operations and Innovation and Community — that contribute to our effort to reduce our overall environmental footprint and improve operating costs for our franchisees. Each stage was established with the goal of securing sustainable strategies and practices for our restaurants including:
- The mitigation of construction pollution and waste recycling
- Regionally-friendly landscaping
- Installation of energy-efficient LED light fixtures
- High-efficiency mechanical units
- Water-saving plumbing fixtures
- Implementation of healthy environments with indoor air quality management and use of zero-VOC paints.
What are the benefits for operators who incorporate a “green” approach into their store designs?
Franchisees who build DD Green Achievement restaurants find that the improvements yield lower utility costs due to reductions in energy and water usage, and healthier indoor air quality, which leads to a better customer experience.
Are there any challenges for operators who implement the DD Green Achievement program?
Though of course there are challenges with the implementation of any new program, DD Green Achievement was customized so that the strategies chosen were applicable to Dunkin’ Donuts stores, cost-effective for franchisees and conducive to improved restaurant efficiency and operations. Furthermore, we provide training and guidance for those franchisees that choose to construct a DD Green Achievement restaurant because we want to ensure that they have the tools they need to run successful, profitable and sustainable stores.
What’s ahead for the DD Green Achievement restaurants?
We were thrilled to open our 100th DD Green Achievement restaurant in Foothill Ranch, Calif., in October, which was ahead of our goal of reaching 100 DD Green Achievement locations by the end of 2016. As the program moves forward, we look forward to continuing to help our franchisees find sustainable business solutions that benefit them, our communities and our planet.