America may run on Dunkin, but Canada certainly doesn’t anymore: Massachusetts-based coffee, doughnut, and breakfast chain Dunkin’ Donuts has left the country completely. Its final few stores in the country have all closed or rebranded to independent businesses in recent days.
A Dunkin’ Donuts representative confirmed that the company’s three remaining franchises are no longer in a statement to Eater.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to our loyal guests. It has been an honor to serve our Canadian guests our brand’s range of high-quality coffees, baked goods and sandwiches.
Most Canadians would be surprised to hear that Dunkin’ even still existed in the country — the chain peaked in the ‘90s, with over 200 locations in Quebec alone, but started shrinking substantially in the 2000s. For a few years, it has only existed in Quebec, dwindling to just three locations this year.
The final three Dunkin’ Donuts were all in the greater Montreal area — two were food court kiosks in malls (in Beloeil on the South Shore, and Place Versailes in Montreal’s Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough), and the only stand-alone location was located on Wellington Street in Verdun.
Some astute Reddit commenters noted that in recent days, the Verdun location rebranded to become a coffee shop named Deli Donuts, reportedly with a similar menu to Dunkin’.
The coffee-bagel-fried dough chain had a rough time in its final years in Canada: in 2003, a group of Quebec franchisees sued the company for failing to sufficiently promote its brand and offerings. The drawn-out legal process finally wrapped up in 2016 after appeals from the chain, and 21 franchisees were awarded around $18 million.
A key argument in that case was that Dunkin’ Donuts should have done more to protect and promote its franchise owners in the face of ever-growing competition from Canadian giant Tim Hortons. While both have relatively similar menus, Tim Hortons apparently had the advantage of its oh-so-Canadian identity, despite having being bought out by Burger King in 2014. In the United States, the reverse happened, where Tim Hortons shrank in the face of competition from Dunkin’ Donuts.)
- RIP Dunkin de Verdun [Reddit]
- Dunkin’ Donuts ordered to pay $16.4M to Quebec franchisees [Financial Post]