Dunkin' Donuts plans to roll out a croissant-doughnut hybrid in the U.S. next week, but the company says please don't call it a "Cronut."
The chain tells The Associated Press it will launch its "Croissant Donut" nationally for a limited time starting Nov. 3. It comes more than a year after the Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City introduced its now trademarked Cronut, which became a viral sensation and spawned numerous knockoffs. Last summer, Dunkin' also introduced a croissant-doughnut in South Korea it dubbed a "New York Pie Donut."
John Costello, Dunkin's president of global marketing and innovation, said in a phone interview that bakers around the country have been mixing doughnuts and croissants for at least 20 years. He said Dunkin' is constantly tracking consumer and bakery trends and has been looking at pastry "combinations" for several years now.
"Are we copying a specific bakery in New York? The answer is no," Costello said in a phone interview.
This isn't the fist time the Massachussetts-based chain has tried experimental new offerings on a limited basis. Last summer, it placed the Dunkin' Donut breakfast sandwich – a traditional bacon egg and cheese breakfast sandwich wedged between two halves of a glazed doughnut- on its permanent menu. The Christian Science Monitor newsroom sampled the item, with mixed reviews. Later that month, the chain jumped on the gluten-free trend with a limited line of gluten-free pastries.
The Croissant Donut is one of several new offerings Dunkin' has in the pipeline after reporting disappointing quarterly sales last week and warning it might struggle to make its long-term growth targets this year. Among the challenges the company is facing is increased competition, with chains including Taco Bell going after the breakfast crowd.
Dunkin', based in Canton, Massachusetts, has nevertheless been opening new U.S. locations and last week said it sees potential for more than 17,000 U.S. locations over time, up from its current 8,000.
As for the Croissant Donut, Dunkin' says the pastry will cost $2.49. That's less than the $5 for a Cronut, but more than twice the $1 or so for other Dunkin' doughnuts, making it more profitable for the company.
The Croissant Donut will be covered with the same glaze used for its Glazed Donut, giving it a familiar taste, but won't have any cream filling like the Cronut. Costello said Dunkin' is looking at fillings and glazes for future versions.
An email sent to the Dominique Ansel's press contact was not returned.
When asked to explain how the Croissant Donut and Cronut differ, Dunkin's Executive Chef Jeff Miller said: "I've tried the product that you mention. As the executive chef of Dunkin', I like ours better."
Rob Branca, a franchisee who's on Dunkin's committee that develops new products, said his friends and acquaintances have been asking when the company would roll out a version of the Cronut. He said he thinks the Croissant Donut will be a hit because the popularity of Cronuts hasn't faded. But he noted it took some time for Dunkin' to come out with its croissant-doughnut hybrid.
"We're going to be selling a lot more of them than a single shop bakery, so it was important to do it right," Branca said.