An increasing number of restaurant franchises are recognizing the benefits of establishing a local mobile presence. This includes the world-wide franchise Dunkin’ Donuts that boasts 11,000+ restaurant locations across 41 states and 36 countries!

You might initially think a well-known restaurant franchise with a global foot print  like Dunkin’ Donuts wouldn’t need a food truck. But this assumption could not be further from the truth. Franchisee’s across the nation continue to see clear ROI from both a revenue and marketing perspective of combining the power of a food truck with brick and mortar. You’ll learn some of the specific ways ROI is returned to Dunkin’ Donuts and other multi-location restaurants inside this post.

dunkin donuts canopy

The canopy is up on the Dunkin’ Donuts food truck.

Promotional Opportunities

The Dunkin’ Donuts food truck featured in this post was built by Prestige Food Trucks. You can view interior and exterior photos of the truck, full list of the kitchen equipment, and other details about the build at their website. The total investment of this specific build came in under $100,000.

PR Events: One of the major value you drivers of food trucks is you have the opportunity to get creative by organizing PR events. In the example below, Dunkin’ Donuts offered free samples of a new drink to Providence, RI. This marketing event was picked up by a local news affiliate that raved over the new iced coffee flavor options in the overwhelmingly positive piece below.

According to, you should expect to pay between $200 – $1500 for a single 30-second advertisement in local tv markets. With traditional advertising going at this rate, it doesn’t take long to spend tens of thousands of dollars promoting your business for just a couple weeks in a small market. Instead, this same one-time advertising investment could be allocated more effectively by investing in a mobile unit that yields measurable returns and press for years to come.

This segment above from The Rhode Show could actually be delivering more value than a traditional advertising piece. First, since this featured piece is not an advertisement, more viewers are actually paying attention and not heading to the kitchen or checking their cell phones during a commercials. For advertising to actually work, you need viewers undivided attention.

Second, the hosts of the show offer unbiased testimonials about the coffee and donut flavors with overwhelming exuberance that encourages more people to learn more about a marketing event. You couldn’t pay better comments about the coffee flavors.

In this example without a food truck there wouldn’t be much excitement around Dunkin’ Donuts offering free samples of a new product. By adding a food truck as a promotional tool, you can turn boring samples into exiting events that spot light your product.

Catering: Whether you’re a restaurant or food truck, catering likely contributes to a significant piece of your annual revenues. For many food businesses catering contributes to 33% or more of gross sales. As a result, the more catering events you can book, the more money you’ll make.

With a driving, fully-mobile billboard on wheels like a food trucks, it’s inevitable that you will generate more interest and catering opportunities. The more you take out your food truck and are active at events, the more opportunities and partnerships will present themselves.

Side view of Dunkin’ Donuts truck.

Social Media: Social media marketing is often viewed as the “holy grail” of marketing for restaurant owners. First of all, much of it is free if you can provide your customers with a reason to share your business and food online.

Second, social media is the optimal way to reach new customers that live in your area and spend much of the day looking into their cell phones. Online is where Millennials, Generation X-ers and Baby-Boomers alike all congregate to consume media and interact.

By having a food truck at an event, you have the ideal environment for social media photos and video sharing. Food is one of the most frequently shared pieces of content across both Facebook and Instagram. If you have a menu item that’s truly unique and looks appealing, whether it’s a glazed donut or an ice latte, there’s a good chance it will be shared.

As we move into 2018, we expect even more franchise restaurants like Dunkin’ Donuts to join in on the food truck revolution. Will your business be one of them?