Oxford’s Dunkin’ franchise got off to a busy start the week of April 15 as the familiar logo drew crowds of people to the South Locust Street location in the same complex as the Lane Library. CONTRIBUTED

Doughnut chain opens one of its ‘next-generation’ restaurants in Butler County

The chain debuted an Oxford location on April 15 in a South Locust Street location known as the site of the former Oxford Tim Horton’s.

The restaurant is the second “next-generation” store in southwest Ohio with a different layout and design for product display. The first was in the Dayton area, and the third opened in Northern Kentucky in April.

“Oxford has long been in our marketing plan. With Tim Horton’s vacating the space, it opened the opportunity,” said Rob Beil, director of operations for the franchisee, Gilligan Company. “Pat Gilligan, the president and CEO, jumped on board.”

Beil oversees 31 Dunkin’ restaurants ranging from Northern Kentucky to Dayton in three formats. Some, like Oxford, are freestanding, while others operate in partnership with gas stations and still others are express locations offering only coffee and donuts.

The Oxford location opened for business April 15 and they are planning a Grand Opening with ribbon-cutting and ceremony on May 14. Hours are 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

“This is a next-generation style restaurant. All of them opening in the future will have the same décor. Dunkin’ wants us to be a relevant space to what millennials want,” Biel said. “The donuts are pulled forward toward the front a little. We have a tap system for delivery of an iced coffee bar up front for customers and interaction with staff to feel invited.”

The store opened with 24 employees and Beil said they quickly realized more would be needed and they look to add 10 more soon.

“We will probably run with 34 to 50. The community has been just amazing with their support and patronage,” he said. “We thought 24 would be enough but business has been phenomenal.”

Beil said they plan a lot of community and university involvement but that is still to evolve due to opening in mid-April. He said the priority was to get open and staffed and then they will look at next steps.

“We want to be a great partner in the community. We want to give a friendly greeting to the community,” he said. “That is the recipe for success.”

Beil said the future is bright for Gilligan Company with six more store openings planned this year and four more next year in the Cincinnati/Dayton market.

“Coffee is our staple. We are leaders in coffee. Now, with sandwiches part of our brand, we offer more than coffee and donuts,” he said, adding the addition makes being open in the evening more logical. “Iced coffee is really the fastest-growing category we have in our restaurants.”

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