There are only two places in Maryland to get Dunkin’s new nitro cold brew on tap. And one of them is a few minutes outside Carroll County.
An Upperco location for the chain best known for coffee and doughnuts celebrated a grand opening Saturday Jan. 5. But customers may notice difference between this store and other locations. It’s known as a “next generation” Dunkin’, and includes features like a tap system for cold drinks and an interior designed to flow well with online ordering.
A Dunkin’ store in Laurel was the first Maryland store to become a “next generation” store after a renovation. Upperco’s location is the first to be built in this style from the ground up.
“Every element of next gen was implemented right from the design,” said Franchisee Neil Patel.
A short drive across the border into Baltimore County, the store is on a frequently traveled path for Carroll residents going towards Reisterstown or the beltway.
They agreed to come when Dunkin’ reached out because they like to rally around community events and businesses, said member Matt Runyon.
Store Manager Namrata Talati, who has been with the store since the beginning of the process, said the next gen store feels completely different than others and her team was excited for the grand opening.
“We’re blessed to have the Upperco community and thankful for their support,” she said.
Outside the store, Patel said the first major difference that guests will notice is that “Dunkin” sign rather than “Dunkin’ Donuts”
This doesn’t mean the store does not serve doughnuts. They’re displayed in a well-lit case right by the register.
The store’s interior design has a different, more neutral color palette. Near the front counter is one of the most conspicuous pieces of new equipment, the tap system, where cold beverages from iced coffee to tea are dispensed in one place.
One tap is nitro cold brew, which can’t be found yet at other locations. Talati said customers order it for its smooth taste and high caffeine content.
“From a guest view, they can see that tap system, so they’re really interested to know what it is,” said Bob Hodges, director of operations for Dunkin’ brands.
And for employees, he said, it’s more efficient, bringing dispensing equipment that would be spread out all into one place.
“It’s a two-part effect. It’s good for the consumer as well as for the employee,” Patel said.
The store was designed to play well with technology. Other stores had added pickup areas for on-the-go orders, but the next generation store was built with space for that in mind, Patel said.
In the future, the store might see an electronic kiosk where customers can order.
“We’ve been working with the local community here for about two and a half years to get this store open….with their support and help, we’re standing in the store right now,” Patel said Saturday morning.
He said that community feedback went into designing the exterior of the store. “I would definitely like to thank the Upperco community for supporting this vision and helping us every step of the way.”
Another community request was increased energy efficiency. The Upperco location meets the brand’s DD Green standards, which means it’s 25% more energy efficient,” Hodges said.