Dunkin’ Donuts goes full IHop, announces name change. Fans are totally confused.

Dunkin’ Donuts had barely made its name change announcement before fans far and wide unleashed a protest.

“After 68 years of America running on Dunkin’, we’re moving to a first-name basis,” the company declared Tuesday, signaling the decision to drop the name of its signature product.

The rebrand was announced Tuesday as the chain moves ahead with the official name Dunkin’ beginning in January, when “Donuts” will be dropped from ads, packages, social media accounts and and signs at new and remodeled stores.

“Dunkin’ Donuts has been on a first-name basis with its fans long before the introduction of its iconic tagline,” the company said in a news release Tuesday, citing the “America Runs on Dunkin’” campaign.

“Our new branding is one of many things we are doing as part of our blueprint for growth to modernize the Dunkin’ experience for our customers,” Dunkin’ Brands’ CEO and Dunkin’ U.S. President David Hoffmann said in a statement.

The familiar orange-and-pink color scheme that the company has used since 1973 will be retained and the logo will still bear the “DD” which seemed to confuse some fans.

And while donuts will not be touted in the name, noting that 60 percent of the chain’s sales are beverage-driven, the company promised that “as the #1 retailer of donuts in America, selling more than 2.9 billion donuts and MUNCHKINS® donut hole treats annually worldwide, each Dunkin’ restaurant is required to make the most popular donuts available every day.”

Beginning as a coffee restaurant in Quincy, Massachusetts called “Open Kettle” in 1948, founder William Rosenberg eventually renamed his restaurant “Dunkin’ Donuts” in 1950.  The chain now boasts more than 12,600 locations worldwide in 46 countries.

But its decision to refresh the brand with “a simplified menu, a greater emphasis on beverages” mobile ordering and  Dunkin’s next generation design concept, is not sitting well with loyal customers amid changes other companies have made recently.

Most notably, IHOP temporarily changing its name as a marketing gimmick to IHOb, for “International House of Burgers,” earned the pancake chain much backlash. Weight Watchers announced this week that it was now “WW,” claiming people want to focus on wellness, not just weight loss.

Dunkin’ seems pretty confident in its new strategy, planning to launch 1,000 new US stores by the end of 2020, executives told reporters Tuesday. It has already tested out a store using the new name in Pasadena, California and in Massachusetts.

But it’s going to take some convincing as some Dunkin’ Donuts fans have already declared they will “not comply.”

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