Dunkin' Donuts got its start in 1946 when a man by the name of Bill Rosenberg laid down five thousand dollars and founded "Industrial Luncheon Services." ILS was a company specifically catering to factory workers in the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts, delivering hot meals, coffee, and snacks.
ILS was a tremendous success, but Rosenberg noticed that nearly half (40%) of his revenue was generated by the sales of coffee and donuts. Capitalizing on these item sales, Rosenberg opened "Open Kettle" in 1948 - a shop dedicated to donuts and coffee located in Quincy, MA. Two years later, the name was changed to "Dunkin' Donuts" to more accurately reflect the business.
Within 5 years, and after the opening of the first six Dunkin' Donuts stores, the first franchise agreement was signed and executed in Worcester, MA. By 1963, 100 shops had sprung up, and Robert Rosenberg became President and CEO at the age of 25. 5 years later, Dunkin' Donuts went public.
In 1966, Dunkin' Donuts established "Dunkin' Donuts University", or the DDU, to guarantee product quality and consistency in the form of a 5-week course. The DDU is located in Braintree, MA.
In 1970, Dunkin' Donuts went international, opening up a shop in Japan.
Dunkin' Donuts entered the foray of the Television Commercial in 1978, when their first commercials started hitting the airwaves. It would not be until 1982 when Dunkin' Donuts would make television history with the introduction of Fred the Baker, beginning a series of commercials that would become one of the most successful television ad campaigns in history.
After becoming the largest donut retailer in 1990, Dunkin' Donuts expanded their product line to include bagels in 1996.
Within a year, they became the largest bagel retailer.
There are currently over five thousand Dunkin' Donuts shops all over the world. Bill Rosenberg is now retired, and living in Florida.
Update: Bill Rosenberg passed away on Friday, September 20, 2002 at the age of 86. He died from bladder cancer.
Thanks for everything, Bill. Time to make the donuts.