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Fall is in the air: Here's when you can buy your first pumpkin spice latte of the year

  • Dunkin' Donuts will launch its lineup of fall flavored foods and beverages on Aug. 28.
  • The coffee and doughnut brand is bringing back pumpkin spice and adding maple and pecan flavors, and a little bacon.
Dunkin Donuts

It may be too early to pick pumpkins and hitch a hayride through a haunted cornfield, but that's not stopping fall flavors from hitting restaurant menu boards.

Dunkin' Donuts will launch its lineup of fall-inspired foods and beverages on Aug. 28.

The coffee and doughnut brand is bringing back pumpkin spice and adding maple and pecan flavors as well as a little bacon.

"For guests, seasons evoke feelings of nostalgia and when seasons change our fans are looking for products that are going to evoke those feelings and memories associated with the season," Paul Racicot, director of research and development for Dunkin' Donuts US, told CNBC via email. "Pumpkin has been very popular in that sense, and we're expecting to see a similar response to our newest flavor, maple."

McDonald's and Starbucks launched their versions of the spiced drink between late August and early September last year but have yet to announce plans for this year's release. Offering the coveted beverage ahead of its competitors could give Dunkin' a small sales advantage, as customers tend to flock to locations when the beverage returns.

"We love pumpkin and it's not going anywhere," Racicot said.

In fact, Dunkin' is adding to the list. Along with pumpkin-flavored coffees, donuts and muffins, the company will have a pumpkin cream cheese to top its bagels.

But pumpkin won't be the only fall flavor on the menu. Dunkin' is adding maple pecan coffees and lattes and a maple sugar bacon breakfast sandwich to the lineup for a limited time.

"In fall, you think of things like pumpkin pie, apple crisp, and of course, maple," Racicot said.

Unique menu offerings have been a boon for Dunkin'. The company has reported better-than-expected earnings for seven-straight quarters, and new and limited-time products have given it a boost.

During a conference call in late July, David Hoffmann, president of Dunkin' Donuts' U.S. and Canada division, said sales of breakfast sandwiches were strong, driven by the chain's Wake-Up Wraps and the rollout of the new pretzel croissant breakfast sandwich.

Hoffmann added that ice coffee sales were buoyed by the addition of the company's cold brew platform and its tea sales were driven by the launch of fruited ice tea.