- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dunkin’ Donuts plans to more than double its presence in the Washington area over the next five years.

The Canton, Mass., chain, which has about 200 shops in the Washington-Baltimore area, plans to open an additional 325 stores here.

The chain hopes to mimic its success in New England, where there is a Dunkin’ Donuts for every 6,000 people and some customers make purchases two to four times a day, often for coffee, said Lynette McKee, vice president of franchising.

“We’re continuing our growth out of New York into the Atlantic seaboard,” she said. “The customer base for the folks in Washington is very much the Dunkin’ customer base — people on the go, looking for a … product they can pick up quickly.”

Dunkin’ also has focused on expansion in Florida and the Midwest.

With the expansion, Dunkin’ has introduced new menu items more appropriate for later in the day. Earlier this month, the chain said it was testing pizza and sandwiches in some of its stores.

“We are looking at extending [the product line] to additional day parts,” Ms. McKee said.

Dunkin’ has signed agreements to open 57 stores in the Washington area. Franchisees Five Points Partners plans to open 25 stores in the District and Maryland; Java Nova plans to open 20 in Northern Virginia; and Ram Singla plans to open 12 stores in Northern Virginia.

Hotel completes renaissance

The Renaissance M Street Hotel’s $25.2 million makeover was completed this month.

The guest rooms, meeting space, lobby, restaurant and lounge were all remodeled in the upgrade, which began last summer. Room upgrades include down comforters, wireless Internet and 32-inch HD plasma televisions that can simultaneously connect to IPods, digital cameras and laptops for multitaskers.

The 335-room hotel, at M Street and New Hampshire Avenue Northwest, has a special focus on drinks with a bar and coffee shop.

RBar specializes in Martizzis, or martinis made with Fizzies, the tablets made popular during the 1960s for the Alka-Seltzer-like effect they have when tossed into a drink. The Renaissance also will be home to Caffe, an Italian coffee shop serving Illy brand coffee.

Westbrook Partners, a New York real estate investment company, and Northview Hotel Group, a hotel-investment group in Westport, Conn., and San Francisco, bought the hotel in January 2006.

The Renaissance M Street was previously the Wyndham City Center, and before that, the Sheraton City Center.

The hotel is operated by Marriott International Inc., which is renovating all its properties in the District and many in the suburbs.

In other news …

• Another hotel has changed flags. The Wyndham Hotel, at 1400 M St. NW, became the Westin Washington D.C. City Center last week. The hotel underwent a $30 million renovation, including all 406 guest rooms and all public spaces. Columbia Sussex Corp., a Fort Mitchell, Ky., hotel owner, bought the property in October 2005. It’s the company’s only Washington hotel.

Retail & Hospitality appears on Mondays. Contact Jen Haberkorn at [email protected] or 202/636-4836.

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