Dunkin' Donuts Seeks Gold in California

On Wednesday, Dunkin' Brands (NASDAQ: DNKN  ) announced it is expanding its operations into Southern California, en route to building a chain of more than 15,000 Dunkin' Donuts restaurants in the United States, which would more than double the existing number.

In a press release, the company described how it is recruiting franchisees to operate multiple locations in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, Ventura and Orange counties, with the goal of opening for business there in 2015. In addition to opening stand-alone restaurants, the company says it is considering setting up locations within colleges and universities, casinos, military bases, supermarkets, airports and travel centers.

In 2012, Dunkin' opened 291 "net new" locations in the U.S., up 4% from 2011. ("Net new" is a term of art referring to new locations, minus existing locations that were closed.) In 2013, the company hopes to accelerate its expansion, opening 330 to 360 net new locations in the U.S., a 4.5% to 5% expansion rate.

Globally, the company says it is also targeting a 5% annual net-new expansion rate for its Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins stores.

The company has more than 10,000 restaurants in 32 countries worldwide, including some 7,000 in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The company has said it is aiming to have 15,000 Dunkin' Donuts in the U.S. over the next 20 years.

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