Dunkin’ Donuts brought its pastries and coffee to the Greater Waco market in October 2016, opening at Wooded Acres and Valley Mills drives and promising it was scouting for more locations in the area.
The chain confirmed this week it will place a shop in the 900 block of North Hewitt Drive, near Midway Middle School and where crews have demolished a building that once housed a Zippy’s convenience store.
Unlike the location on North Valley Mills Drive, the new Dunkin’ will feature the company’s prototype that divides space between Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, said Amy Collins, who manages the existing site.
The chain is also considering placing a third store near Central Texas Marketplace, the retailing center at Interstate 35 and West Loop 340, and plans to expand into Killeen, Temple and College Station, Collins said.
“The Valley Mills Drive location is performing very well and showing increased transactions year over year,” corporate spokesman Guy Rudiger said via email. “As for the new location in Waco, there is a location secured in Hewitt that is projected to open in September 2018.”
Dunkin’ Donuts, based in Massachusetts, announced plans Thursday to add 275 new locations in the United States this year and 1,000 new locations by 2020. The company is targeting 1 percent same-store sales growth this year and 3 percent same-store sales growth by 2020, according to a press release on the plans.
Part of its strategy includes focusing on afternoon and evening hours with new menu items and a new “Dunkin’ Deals” program for special prices. One of the ongoing Dunkin’ Deals is a hot or iced medium latte for $2 between 2 and 6 p.m.
Houston-based Shipley Do-Nuts remains the dominant brand in Greater Waco, with 10 locations in McLennan County, said Phil Adkins, area franchisee for North and Central Texas, which includes 51 Shipley sites.
“We just opened a new store at 19th Street and Lake Shore Drive, and there is a possibility we will open one more, though we do not yet have a lease confirmed,” Adkins said. “We believe there is more room for us. There certainly seems to be room for Dunkin’.”
In other restaurant news, Bella Luna Italian Bistro opened this week in the former Chili’s building in Parkdale shopping center, Cobbs and Valley Mills drives, proprietor Edmond Vecalia said.
Vecalia, a native of Venice, Italy, said the restaurant will serve authentic Italian dishes, pasta, pizza, seafood and steaks.
Meanwhile, Waco businessman Dan McReynolds hopes to open a La Madeleine restaurant by mid-April in Central Texas Marketplace, where it will share a building with retail and food-related tenants, McReynolds said Thursday.
He said a lull in construction late last year happened because he realized he could not open by the holidays, as he had hoped, “so there was no hurry.”