A Dunkin’ in Schuylkill County has become just the fourth location of the donut and coffee chain to go entirely digital.
The remodeled Dunkin’ at 400 Terry Rich Blvd., St. Clair, opened with a ribbon-cutting Monday.
It has replaced its traditional order counter with two in-store kiosks at which customers place digital orders and pay using a credit card or Dunkin’ gift card.
Guests will also be able to place advance orders using the mobile order feature on the Dunkin’ App.
“The new digital-only restaurant is focused on accelerating the digital business to create an efficient, accurate, more convenient and frictionless experience,” Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce President Robert S. Carl Jr., said at the ceremony.
The location still offers Dunkin’s full menu.
There are only three other all-digital Dunkin’ locations in the United States, according to Dunkin’ spokeswoman Abby Zweigle. They are in Boston, Cherry Hill, N.J. and Dallas, Luzerne County.
But more are to come as the chain upgrades its locations in its “Next Generation” initiative, Zweigle said.
“It might have been one of the only good things to come out of COVID,” location franchisee Jason Bower said, referring to social-distanced ordering. “People don’t have to worry about a line. They can send in an order ahead of time. Guests can walk in, say ‘hello’ and grab their order.”
Bowers Donuts Inc. owns three Dunkin’ franchises, employing 150 people. It started in 1976 by Jason Bower’s parents, Joe and Judy Bower, as Mr. Donut, and became Dunkin’ in 1991. Jason Bower joined the local company’s leadership upon high school graduation in 1995.
St. Clair Mayor Richard Tomko jokingly said of the Dunkin’ setup, “Somebody my age won’t be able to use it, but I know many young people will.”
Tomko called the Dunkin’ location “a vital member of our commercial district. People come here not only for sustenance, they come to meet old friends and meet new friends.”
After Monday’s ceremony, the St. Clair Dunkin’ presented a $2,000 donation on behalf of his franchise network and the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation to Schuylkill YMCA.
The donation will help further its mission to strengthen community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
A “Next Generation” Dunkin’ had a soft opening last week at 1174 MacArthur Road, Whitehall Township with a tap system, a drive-thru lane for mobile app customers (Dunkin’ says it’s the first national brand to do that and digital kiosks for ordering. But it’s not digital-only.
That location’s grand opening celebration is set for June 18.
Other elements of Dunkin’ Next Gen experiences include more modern designs using lighter colored materials and an open layout; an energy-efficient system to save up to 25% more energy; and cold beverages served through a tap system.
Dunkin' says more than 1,000 of its 12,600 franchises worldwide have updated to “Next Generation.”