Dunkin Donuts is knocking on Starbucks' door

Guests at the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, North Carolina will soon be running, like America supposedly does, on Dunkin. The doughnuts-and-coffee chain is launching the first of "a variety of store models to suit any lodging property, including full retail shops, kiosks and self-serve hot coffee stations perfect for gift shops and general stores." Dunkin Donuts' press release can't help but point out that the company's coffee is preferred in a blind taste test over Starbucks', and this move is clearly meant as the next salvo in the battle between the two great java retailers.

It's only about a year since the longtime darling of East Coasters announced it would face off with Starbucks with "at least 62" locations in the Las Vegas area. (Interesting: the company pulled out of Washington and Oregon about five years ago; one store was near my house and its exit coincided with an influx of coffee shops in the neighborhood, two Starbucks among them.) It is, notably, a few months after Starbucks launched a salvo with its bargain-conscious "breakfast pairings" clearly meant to compete directly against McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts, whose cheap coffee and food has been eroding Starbucks' cash-strapped customers for some time. When those were announced, a spokesperson from Dunkin Donuts insisted that its food and beverage choices were "the faster and more affordable alternative."