Where To Go For Dunkin'

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This morning, when I placed my coffee order at the counter of the Dunkiní Donuts on Madison Avenue at 28th Street, it wasnít the caffeine that knocked me out of my groggy, sleepy stupor, but the price on the register: $3.24. But I hadnít ordered some hoity-toity, mocha-choca-latta-frappucino. All I wanted was my large iced coffee, which had rung in at a still cringe-worthy $2.75 every time Iíd ordered it for the past three weeks. When Starbucks changed its prices, taking my Iced Venti Unsweetened Iced Coffee from $2.98 up to $3.03, I was a little annoyed. But it was Starbucks; it was supposed to be over-priced. And considering that a Starbucks venti coffee has enough caffeine to make even me jittery, it seemed somewhat justifiable. But this was Dunkiní Donuts, with its bright pink counters, rainbow sprinkled donuts, and egg and bacon breakfast bagels.

So I decided to investigate. According to the company, Dunkiní Donuts outlets are independent franchises and can therefore set their own prices and change them at will. That means you may pay very different prices for the same cup of Joe. So which franchise should you visit if youíre price-conscious but still need a caffeine fix? A survey of 10 of the 182 outlets in the city conducted just minutes ago by your very own, superbly qualified research team (i.e. me) revealed prices ranging from $2.27 to $3.25 for a large iced coffee. Thatís nearly a dollar difference for the same drink! And itís not only in Times Square and other tourist-happy neighborhoods that youíll have to pay up. We found $3-plus cups all over Manhattan, from Harlem to Midtown and downtown. In fact, the priciest cup we located is sold up at 125th and Amsterdam, while the cheapest can be found just 0.32 miles away, at 321 West 125th. I never thought Iíd say this, but it turns out Starbucks may actually be a bargain.

Photo courtesy of [psd on Flickr]

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