Dunkin’ wants to lose Donuts — in name only

There was a time when Dunkin’ Donuts was all about its doughnuts.

Today, Dunkin’ Donuts is locked in a popularity contest with Starbucks and other coffeehouses, competing for the loyalty of an increasingly calorie-conscious customer base concerned with staying fit, not just caffeinated. Doughnuts — while delicious — connote neither.

To that end, the Massachusetts-based chain is deploying a new marketing strategy. It began appearing this week in Pasadena, Calif., where a new storefront emerged bearing a new name and slogan: Dunkin’. Coffee and more.

Eighty-six the doughnuts! (Or, rather, “Donuts.”)

The branding experiment marks the start of a trial period in which the company will gauge customer response and evaluate whether to take the new name nationwide. The review is expected to stretch well into next year, the company said.

“Dunkin’ Donuts is a beverage-led brand and coffee leader,” the company said in a statement announcing the change. “This test coincides with our company’s plans to develop a new restaurant image designed to offer guests unparalleled convenience.”

The doughnut-maker said the name change shouldn’t come as a surprise to its customers. “We have been referring to ourselves simply as Dunkin’ in our advertising for more than a decade,” the statement said, “ever since we introduced our ‘America Runs on Dunkin’ campaign.”

— Andrew deGrandpre

VW executive pleads guilty in scandal

Oliver Schmidt, a Volkswagen compliance executive charged in the company’s emissions-cheating scandal, pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Detroit to conspiracy and violating the U.S. Clean Air Act.

Schmidt faces up to seven years in prison, said U.S. District Judge Sean Cox, with sentencing scheduled for Dec. 6. Schmidt agreed to be deported after he completes his sentence, Cox said.

Schmidt’s plea is the latest fallout from VW’s admission in September 2015 that about 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide were outfitted with devices to cheat emissions tests.

— Bloomberg News

Wells says it may find more fake accounts

Wells Fargo, reeling from a scandal that erupted in September over fake accounts, said it is expanding a review that could lead to the bank’s finding “significantly” more cases.

The bank’s “reasonably possible” legal charges could surpass its reserves of $3.3 billion as of June 30, up from an estimate of $2 billion at the end of March, the lender said in a regulatory filing Friday. The company also disclosed a new investigation into a separate matter by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The board of directors is also reviewing its own “structure, composition and practices,” which will lead to actions announced later this quarter, a statement from chief executive Tim Sloan said Friday.

The CFPB is probing whether consumers were “unduly harmed” by the bank’s freezing and closing of accounts with suspected fraudulent activity.

— Bloomberg News

Also in Business

A Mexican federal court has made a ruling that bans the import of U.S. potatoes on the grounds that the imports violate Mexicans’ right to food sovereignty and a healthful environment. A group of Mexican potato growers had sought a constitutional injunction on the imports, claiming they pose a risk of spreading agricultural diseases. The court said Mexican agricultural authorities had failed to use disease-preventive methods such as radiation treatment on imports.

Blue Apron is closing a New Jersey facility and moving 1,270 jobs to a bigger site opening in the state this year. More than half of the employees at the Jersey City facility have decided to move to Linden, N.J., a Blue Apron spokeswoman said. According to a public notice, the original fulfillment center will close by October. Workers notified Friday of the changes will still have the opportunity to relocate to the new warehouse.

— From news reports