The Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant that opened recently on Buford Highway in Doraville is the first in the Atlanta area to be part of the company’s DD Green program. Started in 2014, DD Green is a certification program designed to help franchisees build sustainable, energy-efficient restaurants.
“Dunkin’ Donuts is an all-franchise business, so owners decide whether they want to be part of this program,” explained Barkat Colabawala, one of the owners of the new restaurant. He is director of operations for the Dunkin’ Donuts Franchisee Network-Coffee Café, LLC.
To be recognized as a DD Green restaurant, franchisees, construction managers and architects follow a five-stage program during the planning, design and construction phases of store development, according to Dunkin’ Donuts’ corporate website. Stores meeting the DD Green criteria display a plaque that notes the restaurant’s energy reduction and sustainable design.
The program is customized for various store formats.
“We see this as the future of the food industry,” Colabawala said. “We’re going to see more and more restaurants from construction through operation incorporating features that minimize environmental impact.”
Colabawala’s education and experience prior to becoming a restaurant owner is in information technologies. “That fits perfectly with the way places like the new Dunkin’ Donuts operate. So much is done by computer an extensive knowledge of computer technology is a real plus,” he said.
Among the sustainable strategies and practices used in the DD Green program are mitigation of construction pollution and waste recycling, installation of energy-efficient LED light fixtures, mechanical units and water-saving plumbing fixtures, implementation of healthy environments with indoor air quality management and use of zero-VOC paints and sustainable building operations training for employees.
Franchisees can participate in the DD Green program at two levels. At the first level, stores meet minimum sustainable requirements. The second level is for stores that go beyond requirements and achieve additional suggested sustainable goals.
Paul Twohig, president of Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. and Canada, and Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin-Robbins Europe and Latin America, stated in a news release, “We are committed to building greener restaurants, and this new program is designed to reduce our overall environmental footprint and improve operating costs for our franchisees.”
“We’re proud to introduce this program in the Atlanta area,” said Colabawala, who owns the restaurant with Sam Charania, operator of 13 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in Georgia. Earlier this year Charania was selected to serve a two-year term on the Dunkin’ Donuts Brand Advisory Council, which selects franchisees from across the country to provide advice on topics ranging from marketing strategies and menu innovation to technology and training needs for the company’s more than 8, 500 U.S. franchise locations. Charania is the only Georgia member of the current council.
“Dunkin’ Donuts is a brand that really listens to its franchisees when its developing programs and policies,” said Colabawala, who opened a Dunkin’ Donuts in Chamblee 10 years ago and has been associated with the brand ever since. “That, and the opportunity to join the DD Green program are among several reasons I’m proud to be associated with the Dunkin’ Donuts brand.
“It’s one of the world’s leading brands and it changes continually to meet public tastes and preferences. The DD Green program is just one example,” he continued.
The first Dunkin’ Donuts opened in Quincy, Mass., 66 years ago, when it served basically doughnuts and coffee. The brand’s current menu includes a variety of hot and cold coffee, tea and chocolate beverages as well as fruit and yogurt smoothies. In addition to a wide selection of doughnuts, Dunkin’ Donuts now sells other bakery goods and sandwiches.
Colabawala said he is excited to open a business on the Doraville stretch of Buford Highway. “If you look you will notice that most of the businesses along here are new. This area is undergoing revitalization. We chose this area to open the restaurant because we really wanted to be part of that.”
He added that Doraville city officials, including the mayor and the chief of police, have been helpful and encouraging. “The people who come in have been so friendly, too. They tell us they’re gland we’re here. It’s the interaction with people that makes this business exciting and rewarding. Many people come in early in the morning and we have the chance to help them get their day started in a pleasant way,” Colabawala said.
The Buford Highway Dunkin’ Donuts is one of more than 11,800 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants worldwide.