Starbucks vs. Dunkin Donuts: What Story Does Your Coffee Tell?

Kent, OH

Tackling the Starbucks vs. Dunkin Donuts feud, frequent customers and employees of both establishments in Kent, Ohio give their perspectives on why they are inclined to drink or serve the coffee of their choice.

It is no hidden fact that Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts have been each others competition for years. The two coffee spots are known to target completely different markets. Dunkin Donuts caters to those who are looking for a quick, easy transaction. Starbucks caters to those who are looking for en experience, and not so simply a transaction.

The two have been in competition for years, and even bringing up the topic can lead to tension for some people.

Two friends Tiffany Croff and Taylor Titus struggle with their dedication to the opposing coffee titans. Titus, a fan of Dunkin Donuts, loves the flavor and quick service offered at Dunkin Donuts.

Tiffany is a huge supporter of the Starbucks brand, and considers herself an ambassador.

Croff’s favorite part about Starbucks is the Starbucks Reward program, which allows users and frequent customers to utilize their phones to pay for drinks and food prior to their visit, avoiding long lines and miscommunication between baristas.

Aside from obvious differences between frequent customers of the two stores, research shows deeper lifestyle differences between drinkers of Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.

Civil Science, a polling and market intelligence company based in Pittsburgh, conducted a survey which polled about 26,000 individuals on their views of the two coffee stores as well as personal lifestyle choices.

The 5 top differences between Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts drinkers as concluded following the survey were religion, social networking, online TV viewing, parenthood, and political leanings.

The differences were extremely significant, and results showed that Dunkin Donuts drinkers do in fact tend to lean more conservative, while Starbucks drinkers tend to be more liberal.

Employees from both Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts spoke on the customers who frequently visit their stores, and their visible demographics.

Kent’s Dunkin Donuts employee Jessica Barone spoke about the habits of Dunkin Donuts customers at the Kent location as well as at a Youngstown location, where she formerly was employed.

Since the Kent location is within a college town and is located in close proximity to the Kent State University campus, the store mainly serves college students.

Barone reported that the primary customer base at the Youngstown location where she formerly worked consisted of families and high school students. “The moms who come here always know exactly what they want, and college students order the same type of things usually,” said Barone. “The girls who come here love to order caramel flavored stuff.”

Former Kent Starbucks employee Ife Okantah who now works at an Akron Starbucks said that the typical Starbucks customer is extremely particular. “We get a lot of moms,” Okantah said. “The people who come here are looking for an experience, and you can’t really get this same experience anywhere else.”

Croff, junior nursing major at Kent State, agreed with that. The Starbucks Rewards program allows her to order her drink from home, and easily run in to pick it up on the way to class. “I used to hate having to wait in long drive-thru lines at Dunkin,” said Croff. “I legit just go in and they have my coffee waiting for me. It’s the easiest thing ever.”

Titus, Dunkin Donuts enthusiast and junior speech pathology major, says the drive-thru at Dunkin is super easy, and Dunkin has a “really chill environment.”