Something sweet for Valentine's

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

LET'S face it. Cebu has never been a city of parks or playgrounds. People who need to relax, unwind, or simply chill go to malls, coffee shops, or watering holes that have mushroomed everywhere. In the 1980’s there was not much of a choice for a destination to hang out between 8 p.m. till 12 midnight.

Until Dunkin Donuts came and opened its very first outlet in 1987 near Fuente Osmeña rotunda.

The place is very compact in size, intended only as a snack bar serving a variety of flavored donuts, hot chocolate, and freshly brewed coffee. Then, in just a short span of time, the unpretentious donut “stand” became the favorite place where professionals came to co-mingle, students to study, and just about anyone who wants to catch good vibes with a chocolate-coated donut and a cup of hot choco drink on hand. It simply became “the in place” to eat, study, and socialize—where customers can do this at their own sweet time, and for as long as they can.

Dunkin' Donuts' Heart-shaped sweets for Valentine's Day
Dunkin' Donuts' Heart-shaped sweets for Valentine's Day. (Photo by Allan Cuizon of Sun.Star Cebu)


Some things never change. Well, 27 years later it still is the same old place to hang out. It still serves the same tasty and freshly-baked donuts, the same coffee blend, the same hot choco (although other delightful “Dunkcoctions” have been added), and the same brand of hospitality and service. The only difference is that it is not alone.

Today, there are 76 outlets at strategic locations all over Cebu province. And for 27 years, Cebuanos have embraced its presence and it looks like they have not grown “tired” of eating the donuts.

When asked the secret behind their obvious success and the remarkable growth of the franchise, Jonathan Gesalem answered: “First of all, I want to inform you that Cebu was the first area outside of Luzon that was offered the franchise. This was offered to my father four times and each time he refused so it was my mother who accepted the offer the fifth time. Because of this the whole family saw the need to support her.

Since then, our family began to love the business that we focused our time, effort, and resources to carry it on. And until now we have maintained the high quality and distinctive taste of Dunkin.” Gesalem is the vice president and chief operating officer (CEO) of Queen City Food Chain Inc., the franchise holder of Dunkin Donuts in Cebu.

And by high quality standard, Gesalem means that there are 13 steps to follow in baking these donuts, and although shelf life of the more than 40 different flavors of the donuts is 72 hours, they keep the donuts at the outlets for only 12 hours. And what they do to the donuts that are pulled out which are actually still very fresh?

For love of service, they donate the donuts to the 32 charitable institutions that the Queen City Food Chain Inc. is supporting.

“Valentine’s Day is special to us because if some people express their love with flowers and chocolates, there are those who say it with Dunkin Donuts. This is the reason why we came up with heart-shaped ‘premium’ donuts which are already available in all our outlets,” Gesalem said.

“One more thing that is the key to the staying power of our Donuts is that we do not stop innovating. We not only keep up with the market trends, we maintain the affordability of the prices of our donuts. They’re very low compared to the others.”

One customer have posted on the cork board at one of the outlets: “Your donuts are really fresh—the taste stays in my mouth.” Another: “Dunkin definitely knows how to satisfy the Cebuanos’ craving for sweets.” And another: “I can hang out here for hours with free Internet without the waiters giving me the ‘killer look’ [i.e. dagger looks].”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 05, 2014.


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