Holes to fill

In some large metro areas, including Chicago and Boston, Dunkin’ Donuts has a huge presence. In downtown Boston, it’s almost impossible to walk a city block without seeing one or more Dunkin’ Donuts locations.

The brand does not have that amount of penetration in the Milwaukee market. There are only five Dunkin’ Donuts locations in southeastern Wisconsin.

However, that will likely change in the near future. The Milwaukee Coffee Brewing Co., a group of franchisees that operates 370 Dunkin’ Donuts locations on the East Coast, recently opened their first Dunkin’ Donuts location in metro Milwaukee at the intersection of Silver Spring Drive and Pilgrim Road in Menomonee Falls. The group’s license with the national brand allows it to open 36 new locations in the Milwaukee area over a six year period, and it believes it will exceed that number, said Mark Cafua, one of the investors in Milwaukee Coffee Brewing Co.

“This market, when we have toured it and look at the demographics, we’ve noticed there’s a great potential to be able to expand and service the community with America’s best coffee,” Cafua said. “We’re reviewing the market, trying to figure out where we can become part of our customers’ daily commute.”

The group of franchisees hopes to open another four or five locations in the metro area by the end of the year and another five locations in 2012, Cafua said. The group is currently looking at sites in Oak Creek, Whitefish Bay, South Milwaukee, the Miller Park area and Waukesha.

John Clark, a Milwaukee native and another member of the Milwaukee Coffee Brewing Co., is relocating to Milwaukee from the East Coast.

Before it develops locations in the city of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Coffee Brewing Co. will build a network of Dunkin’ Donuts in the suburbs to solidify its connection to commuters heading into the city.

“We want to be sure we get them before they go into the city (for work),” Cafua said. “Then when they get into the city, we want to be sure they know we’re part of the community.”

There are almost 500 Dunkin’ Donuts in the Chicagoland market, said John Costello, the company’s chief marketing and innovation officer, and it views the Milwaukee area market as a significant expansion opportunity.

“We are expanding our presence in the Heartland, and Milwaukee is a huge part of the Heartland,” Costello said. “We think Milwaukee offers huge potential.”

The Milwaukee Coffee Brewing Co. is one of the largest and most successful groups of franchisees operating Dunkin’ Donuts stores. The group, who approached the company with the idea of expanding into the Milwaukee market, will give the chain its best chance of long-term success here because of their lengthy track record.

“We’re thrilled about expanding our presence in Milwaukee and excited to have a strong group of franchisees committed to growing the area,” Costello said.

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