Dunkin' Donuts On-the-Go app is game changer: CEO

You can now order ahead at Dunkin everywhere
You can now order ahead at Dunkin everywhere

Dunkin' Brands CEO Nigel Travis says Dunkin' Donuts has a secret weapon in an increasingly crowded fast-food breakfast field: technology.

Dunkin' Donuts will roll out its On-the-Go mobile ordering feature nationwide starting on Monday. The feature allows DD Perks rewards program members to order before they arrive in stores and skip lines. It also facilitates cashless payments by drawing from members' Dunkin' Donuts Card in its mobile app.

"I think it's going to be a difference maker. It's the biggest change in our delivery system," Travis told CNBC's "Squawk Box" during an appearance Friday for National Donut Day.

Dunkin's financial investment in the new the On-the-Go feature, which has been tested in various markets, has been "pretty low," he said, adding that the feature should help drive new DD Perks memberships.

Shares of Dunkin' Donuts have run up in recent years, but have sputtered in the last 12 months. The stock is down nearly 17 percent over the last year.

The coffee-and-donut chain faces growing pressure in the key breakfast category as chains like Taco Bell roll out new morning-time offerings and after McDonald's launched its highly successful all-day breakfast.

Customers at a McDonald's restaurant
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"Clearly, there is a lot of competition out there. There are convenience stores, burger chains. They're all jumping in," Travis said. "But we're coming back with obviously new products all the time."

Dunkin' Donuts is seeking to challenge Starbucks by expanding its line of espresso-based drinks. It is also launching new donuts and sandwiches and testing fruit teas in Boston, Travis said.

Since launching its branded K-Cups last year, the single-serving product has drummed up $300 million in sales through grocery channels.