We all know America Runs on Dunkin’, but did you know the brand operates in 40 countries around the world? And how about Baskin-Robbins? It’s long been established as the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty shops in large part because of its presence in 52 countries.
In fact, nearly 70 percent of Baskin-Robbins’ approximately 8,000 shops are located internationally.
This kind of international footprint requires a team capable of managing a high level of complexity and team members who are ambitious, adaptive and are willing to roll up their sleeves to take on new challenges.
One of those team members is Caner Gursoy, Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins International Regional Vice President of Europe, Middle East and Australia. In this role, Gursoy is based in Dubai and oversees the operations of nearly 3,100 Dunkin’ restaurants and Baskin-Robbin shops across the region, which makes up approximately 30 percent of the brands’ international portfolio.
Gursoy joined the Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins International team nearly 10 years ago as an International Business Manager. Over time, Gursoy’s responsibilities grew and he was promoted to Regional Director, overseeing Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins operations in the Middle East, Africa, India and Australia. He later added Europe to his list of territories and was promoted to Managing Director of International. In 2020, he was promoted to his current role.
“What I enjoy most about working for Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins are the products and the people,” said Gursoy. “You don’t see anyone coming out of a Baskin-Robbins or a Dunkin’ with a frown on their face – we lift people up. We make people happy. We’re definitely a good moment in a person’s day and I love that.”
Prior to joining Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins, Gursoy gained valuable experience in the industry with the Australian brand, Gloria Jean’s Coffees, leading the UAE operations for the Master Franchisee. In this role, he was responsible for all aspects of operations, restaurant development, marketing, human resources, and finance.
“I have found it’s very helpful to have previous working experience with a Master Franchisee or Master Licensee, preferably in the industry,” said Gursoy. “It’s helpful to understand that side of the business and it can really give you a head start with building a relationship because you can relate to them. This experience can also help when dealing with roadblocks and identifying opportunities for the franchisee or licensee.”
Now an experienced retail executive with deep global knowledge across many areas, Gursoy is well-versed in building teams, working with franchisees across diverse and complex markets, and creating business plans that drive results.
“The thing about international is it’s much more complex than operating in a single country,” said Gursoy. “The U.S. is just one country, which has the same government and generally the same rules, same regulations, and same economy. International is tens of countries that we operate in. Each country has its own challenges and differences. We have to constantly adapt, which has been a key to our success.”
Gursoy said other notable differences between the U.S. and International markets is most of Dunkin’ internationally sees traffic peak in the afternoon instead of the morning and consumers typically favor espresso over drip coffee. And then there’s the major difference of the Drive-Thru vs. the dining room.
“Not every country allows for drive-thrus due to infrastructure,” said Gursoy. “Ancient cities are good examples of this. These are cities that are thousands of years old and the roads were originally made for horse carriages. You don’t see real estate opportunities that can accommodate drive-thrus easily in those cities. It’s also really not a big part of people’s lifestyles in many of our markets as coffee is more of a social occasion and less on-the-go.”
For Baskin-Robbins, ice cream flavors tend to differ much more drastically in international markets than in the U.S.
“For example, citric flavors work very well in Europe,” said Gursoy. “But they are not expected or accepted in the Middle East. Meanwhile, caramel is a big hit in the Middle East. Conversely, mint chocolate chip is a big seller in the U.S., but nobody wants it in the Middle East.”
To best adapt to these various preferences while staying true to the identities of the brands, Gursoy says the team values team members who enjoy a “high level of complexity” in their day-to-day.
“I think it’s a lot of fun because it’s never linear and things rarely happen in sequential order,” said Gursoy. “We are always reacting and adapting to the unexpected while still trying to be proactive and execute a long-term plan.”
Another benefit, when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, is travel.
“You get to explore cultures and get to see and learn new places,” said Gursoy. “Travel and having exposure to how the business is conducted in so many different countries is a lot of fun.”
Gursoy adds the future looks bright for the International team following Inspire’s acquisition of Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins.
“Now with Inspire’s acquisition of our brands, I’m excited about the opportunities for the other brands to expand and grow their presence in the international market,” he said.
Interested in a career with Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins? Click here to view current openings.