Dunkin takes a shot at espresso-based drinks

  • Dunkin' announced Wednesday that the company will begin offering espresso-based beverages at restaurants nationwide.
  • The restaurants will serve hot and iced beverages, including lattes and cappuccinos.
  • Dunkin's espresso line will allow it to compete with Starbucks as well as McDonalds, which offers a variety of espresso-based beverages.
An employee fills a coffee order at a Dunkin' Donuts location in Ramsey, New Jersey.
Ron Antonelli | Bloomberg | Getty Images
An employee fills a coffee order at a Dunkin' Donuts location in Ramsey, New Jersey.

Dunkin' announced Wednesday that the company will begin offering espresso-based beverages at restaurants nationwide.

This announcement comes just about a month after Dunkin' dropped "Donuts" from its name, signaling that it would be diversifying its menu.

The company plans to launch a comprehensive marketing campaign, including espresso cups featuring a new bright orange design with an exclamation point, it said in a statement.

Dunkin' hopes its new state-of-the-art espresso equipment, new espresso recipe, and employee training will appeal to younger, espresso-drinking customers. The restaurants will serve hot and iced beverages, including lattes and cappuccinos.

"Our goal is to be America's most loved beverage-led, to-go brand. In other words, we want to be known for great coffee fast," said Justin Drake, Dunkin' Brands senior manager of public relations.

Despite taking "Donuts" out of its name, Drake said, the company will continue to offer doughnuts and other baked goods, as well as sandwiches, and will look to find ways to make the brand more convenient and accessible to guests.

Dunkin's espresso line will allow it to compete with Starbucks as well as McDonalds, which offers a variety of espresso-based beverages.

"Espresso is one of the fastest growing coffee categories, particularly among younger consumers, and with our coffee credentials we believe we have a tremendous opportunity to improve our awareness and credibility among espresso drinkers," Chief Marketing Officer Tony Weisman said in a statement.

In addition to selling espresso in stores, the company has developed a limited-time espresso blend for Keurig's K-cups. Drake said the company does not currently have plans to expand beyond that.

Dunkin' plans to introduce cold beverage tap systems, a mobile ordering pickup area, and a more modern and inviting restaurant design, according to Drake.

Earlier this year Dunkin' Brands announced plans to invest $100 million in the Dunkin U.S. business. Over half of this money will be used for restaurant equipment for its beverage-led strategy, according to the company. Franchises have also made substantial investments in the initiative, the company said.

Dunkin' plans to release the new espresso line in the U.S. by this holiday season.

Dunkin' Brands will release its third-quarter earnings on Thursday.

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