Are you a green or an orange straw?

Are you a green or an orange straw?



Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks are two of the most popular coffee spots in the United States and beyond. While both are popular, they are each marketed in different ways. Most of the time it is dependent on the location because of their target markets. Here’s my take on what draws people to each of these growing businesses.

Let’s start with Starbucks:

Target Markets-

Starbucks was founded in Seattle in 1971. Today, it’s my go to place to get work done, catch up with friends over a latte, or get a coffee on the go. Starbucks’ target markets are business people in the city, stay at home moms on the go, and as of recently, Generation Z. Gen Z was most attracted to the Unicorn and Mermaid Frappucino. Between the social media hype and anticipation, they could not wait to try it. The popular drinks were sold out just as quickly as they became available.

Let’s face it: Stay at home moms need that extra jolt (or two) to get through the day. The mobile app is extremely handy for these busy moms to order when they are out and about. They can order while they are in line at the grocery store and it’s ready by the time they pull into the Starbucks parking lot. They can simply run in, pick it up and be on their way. It’s already paid for through the app!

Starbucks is the biggest competition for small coffee shops in the condensed city areas like Boston, New York City and Chicago. Business people head to their nearest Starbucks location to have meetings with clients, check emails or mentally prepare for the next conference call. What’s so great about that? Well, in a city, there’s practically a Starbucks about every other block or so. Lucky for them, huh? What if they get hungry? Starbucks’ sells a variety of small pastries and baked goods, as well as sandwiches and boxed snacks. These aren’t their main source of revenue though, of course. Their main source of revenue is coffee, teas and frozen blended drinks.

They Want You To Be Somebody-

Starbucks has also built a reputation among many generations where if you are holding their iconic white cup complete with their signature brown sleeve, then you are “somebody”. What does this mean exactly? Well, this might mean that you just like really, really strong coffee after a night of limited sleep or it might mean that you enjoy a popular hot drink of the menu (Caramel Macchiato, maybe?). Whatever the case, Starbucks has built up their advertising so much so that customers often times have a feeling of superiority or entitlement when they hear their name called because their order is up. Is this a bad thing? Nope. It keeps their customers come back…again, and again. Sometimes multiple times a day! I’d say this line of advertising has been proved to be successful.


How about Dunkin Donuts?

Target Markets-

Dunkin Donuts was founded in 1950 in Quincy, MA. Like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts has shops infiltrated everywhere, especially around every corner in New England. With more of a balance of bakery and coffee options, Dunkin Donuts keeps its faithful customer coming back for more. Because of their lower price point over Starbucks, they mainly target “everyday” workers, families with small children, and individuals that live in urban areas.

Every day 9 to 5 workers are America’s bread and butter. People who work construction to office positions are always in need of a cup of joe! Dunkin Donuts knows these individuals will always come back for more because the shop locations are likely in a 1 to 2 mile radius of their job or home. New Englanders especially love their iced coffee year round. Believe me…I would know. Growing up there I am often perplexed why one would order a large iced regular during a blizzard, but hey, it’s the norm. Dunkin Donuts is also popular with many senior citizens who gather together around the shops’ tables in the early mornings to gossip and drink their dark coffee. Maybe they get a donut. Maybe not. Whatever the case, as the working class has grown older, they remain loyal to the brand and familiarity of flavors and possibly the staff, too.

When I was growing up, the excitement of knowing we were getting a box of 25 munchkins for the road trip we were about to embark on was probably the highlight of my life. Well, not really my life, but when you’re 7 something so mundane to an adult is so spectacular to a child. Munchkins are little bites of delectable happiness. Families often visit Dunkin Donuts because there’s something for everyone. Coffee and tea for the adults, milk or juice for the kids, and donuts and bagels for whoever wants them. Dunkin Donuts has the regular staples of glazed and sprinkled donuts, which we all know are awesome. Kids love them, parents know they love it, and when everyone’s in a rush or when the kid’s are good, they get Dunkin Donuts.

Again, like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts is embedded in every single nook and cranny of the urban areas around the country. Because of the lower price points this appeals to the people with less income than those in suburban areas. You can find a number of Dunkin Donuts in New York City within a three block radius. Why so many? Well, I suppose it’s because they want to make sure you get your coffee in a timely fashion without a line. Dunkin Donuts locations are also placed in low income areas as well. This is likely because the locations will make money, again, because of the lower price point of coffee and the other items sold.

They Want You To Enjoy Something New Every Time-

Something that Dunkin Donuts is doing as Starbucks is doing in beverages is always creating something new. This seems to be the theme about every month or so, whether it be with a beverage, donut or bagel sandwich. Because of this type of marketing, the excitement shown on TV, social media, and word of mouth (for those who loved or hated) whatever item we’re actually discussing. Dunkin Donuts is always coming up with new flavors of donuts. If you’ve read this blog, you’ll know that I, for one, love donuts. My favorites here? Pumpkin, Oreo, and Chocolate Glazed. Are they as delicious as Blackbird? Not really, but in a pinch, they definitely will do.

So which would I choose?

Starbucks. Any day of the week. Why, you ask? Well, here’s the thing. They have everything I need and then some. Strong coffee, a place to sit and work without interruption, and there’s one within pretty close proximity to wherever I am. #GreenStraw


So what about you? Are you a #GreenStraw or an #OrangeStraw ?

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