DOWNTOWN — A pair of fast food chains are continuing their westward expansion with new locations in Santa Monica.

Dunkin’ Donuts will open a store on Wilshire Boulevard in the coming months. The donuts and coffee company is the second cross-country business to set up shop in town following Steak’n Shake’s decision to take a space on the Third Street Promenade.

The Santa Monica store will be among the first wave of new locations in the area. In a statement, Dunkin’ Donuts announced plans for locations in Downey, Long Beach, Modesto, Santa Monica and Whittier. According to the statement, existing Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins franchisee Gary Haar will operate the local store with his business partner Steve Silverstein.

Steve Rafferty, senior director of franchising with Dunkin Brands, said the company made a specific choice to come to Santa Monica.

“When we did our planning, Santa Monica came in very high on where we wanted to put a location. The population concentration and the competitors in the market show there is a great demand for great coffee and great donuts like ours.”

He said the company is pushing west to bring an iconic East Coast brand to new markets but the new locations will be more modern in appearance than some of their other stores. He said the location would have more comfortable seating and charging stations for electronics.

The menu will be the same as other locations.

“(Customers) think of us as donuts but we have much, much more than that. We sell more coffee by the cup than anybody,” he said. “We like to think that people come for the donuts but stay for the coffee.”

He said the location would also emphasize existing products that are appealing to local customers such as the company’s DD Smart menu with lower calorie options.

Company officials said they hope to open up to 1,000 stores across California.

“We are pleased with the solid start to our California development plans, and today’s announcement of the locations of our first new traditional Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants represents development that is ahead of schedule due to the strong interest of prospective franchisees and consumers across the state,” said Paul Twohig, president, Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. and Canada, and Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin-Robbins Europe and Latin America in a statement. “We are especially happy to be partnering with such experienced and passionate franchise groups as we begin opening traditional Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in California. We look forward to keeping Californians running on our brand’s high-quality coffee, sandwiches and baked goods.”

Steak ‘n Shake is also coming to town. The Indiana-based fast food franchise is popular in the Midwest and will have other West Coast locations but the Santa Monica store has been described as their California flagship during their expansion.

Work on the site is ongoing and no official date has been listed for the restaurant’s opening.

Steak ‘n Shake was founded in 1934 in Normal, Ill. Its signature offering, the Steakburger, is said to be made with 100 percent beef and contains no preservatives and no artificial ingredients. In 2012, Zagat recognized Steak’n Shake as having the number one milkshake.

There are more than 400 company-owned Steak ‘n Shakes and more than 100 or so that are franchised, according to the parent company, Biglari Holdings.

 

matt@smdp.com

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