Starbucks v. Dunkin' Donuts
BY DIKSHA MHATRE '26
So, which one is better: Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts? The debate will continue so long as both coffeehouses release new items. After evaluating both based on 5 categories, coffeehouse aesthetic, menu variety, wait time, drinks, and food, there is clearly a winner. Hopefully, this article will solve the dilemma that occurs every time a friend goes on a quick coffee run.
Starbucks has a fresh theme of green, white, and brown that perfectly embodies the fresh and crisp feeling of drinking caffeinated drinks. The slightly dimmed lighting and large windows offer lots of natural light for Instagram-worthy pictures of drinks. This is entirely different from Dunkin' Donuts, which has orange, brown, and pops of pink spread around the coffee shop. Both locations have free wifi so you can do homework while you wait for your order. Yet, the setup for Starbucks is more appealing with a classy and chic look. 91% of 113 voters agree that Starbucks is more aesthetically pleasing.
Starbucks has 48 menu items and Dunkin' has 91. However, Starbucks allows more customization for drinks with extra syrups, amounts of ice, sauces, and foams. Though Dunkin' has more menu items, one can notice a greater variety in drinks at Starbucks whereas Dunkin' has greater variety in food. 55% of 112 voters think that Starbucks has a greater menu variety. In my experience at the local coffeehouses, Starbucks usually has drinks available but Dunkin' "runs" out of drinks more often.
This is essential to know if you are going during a free period at school. 86% of 109 voters think that Dunkin' has less waiting time and more seating availability. Dunkin' usually has shorter lines and quick service whereas Starbucks is known for its 15-20 minute wait times. If you want to go to Starbucks, it's best to order from the app.
The answer for this category isn't as clear-cut because people have different preferences. Let's start off with comparing the quality of the food. Starbucks has great quality and fresh ingredients, but on the other hand, Dunkins' quality is…questionable. Despite that, I absolutely adore their breakfast items and doughnuts. Starbucks has great food too, but it is too expensive. They have delectable cake pops and the sandwiches are completely underrated. My personal favorite is the tomato and mozzarella sandwich with focaccia. Dunkin' does have a great selection of food for affordable prices, whereas Starbucks doesn't have much variety for very expensive prices, which is why 62% of 106 voters think that Dunkin' has better food.
I thought this category would be more debatable, but there is a clear winner. Starbucks, as mentioned before, has a wide variety of beverages. It allows for more customization so it is understandable that 82% of 106 voters think that Starbucks is better. Some personal favorites are the strawberry acai, dragonfruit lemonade, dragonfruit refreshers (with coconut milk!), and mocha frappuccinos. Dunkin' is also great because their drinks are more affordable and they have similar menu items with less sugar. Dunkins' coffee is less sweet and wakes me up more, compared to Starbucks. Some favorites are the blue raspberry coolatta, mango pineapple refresher, and cold chocolate. One complaint for both coffeeshops is that neither serves decent matcha lattes, my favorite drink.
So which one is better? Voters think that Starbucks has a better aesthetic, menu variety, and drinks while Dunkin' has less wait time and better food. I personally disagree with the public's view on menu variety since Dunkin' has a lot more menu options and is upping their game with new refreshers, but the voters have a clear 3:2 ratio with Starbucks winning more categories. At the end of the poll, I included this question: Which one is obviously better? 104 voters are split 50/50. So does AB have a clear winner? I'll leave it up to you to choose.