Why Dunkin's Donuts Taste Different At Every Store, According To Staff

Dunkin' (formerly known as Dunkin' Donuts) is well known for its coffee and donuts, especially on the East Coast, where the chain is largely concentrated. The brand sells a variety of donut flavors, including classics like Boston Kreme, Chocolate Frosted with Sprinkles, and Glazed, and a variety of seasonal options like Brownie Batter for Valentine's Day and Apple Crumb in the fall. 


But where do all of these delicious and fresh donuts come from, and why do they sometimes taste different from one store to the next? A Dunkin' worker recently spilled the (coffee) beans and provided an inside look into the making of Dunkin's donuts. According to a TikTok by Dunkin' franchisee Amir Mohamed, there are three different ways stores can get their donuts. Each store can opt to bake the donuts in the restaurant's kitchen, have them delivered from a central kitchen called a central manufacturing location (CML) built by a collection of franchisees, or order frozen donuts called JBOD — or "just baked on demand" — which are reheated in the local store. Which method the franchisee chooses determines how their donuts taste says Mohamed. 


The best donuts are glazed and blueberry at 4am when theyre fresh! No discussion haha! #dunkin #franchise #franchisee #dunkindonuts #business #la #donuts #losangeles

♬ original sound – Amir Mohamed 🇪🇬

How Dunkin' makes fresh donuts

There is no publicly available database that shows which stores use which method to make their donuts, though certainly can ask your local Dunkin' workers how their location makes its baked goods. Before switching to the CML central kitchen option with about 30 other Dunkin' locations, Mohamed's store baked the donuts in-house every night for 12 years to provide hundreds of donuts to his seven franchise locations. He says, "It was an absolute madhouse of an operation, cooking hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of donuts per location. It was a lot." Eventually, Mohamed switched to a CML model so now the CML ships donuts to his store early in the morning before opening.


When baking in-house or with a CML, the donuts are typically baked every night, so they are nice and fresh each day which might explain why many stores run out of certain donut flavors toward the end of the day. Without frozen stock ready to heat up, those locations have to wait until more donuts are made fresh that night and delivered the next morning. 

Though you'll still find that donuts vary in taste and quality from one store to the next, CMLs can help create some consistency within the areas they serve as the douts in local stores that use the same CML should taste pretty similar, if not identical.

Does Dunkin' use frozen donuts?

It's unclear how many Dunkin' stores use frozen JBOD donuts. Most people would probably agree that donuts baked fresh in the store every day taste the best, however, JBOD donuts might help deliver more consistency. JBOD donuts can also be useful for smaller locations that don't have a kitchen capable of baking donuts or for stores that don't have enough staff to bake fresh donuts before opening every morning. One Dunkin' location in Erie, Pennsylvania explains that JBOD donuts are ideal for their mobile food trailer, which allows them to serve Dunkin' products anywhere.


Next time you go to Dunkin' and have a donut that tastes less than fresh, it might be safe to assume you're eating a JBOD donut. And now you have proof to back up your claim that donuts from some Dunkin' locations taste better than others. According to Mohamed, when his store baked donuts fresh in-house, they were bigger, filled better, and tasted better.