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How Starbucks, Dunkin’, + Caribou Coffee Are Using Fresh Branding with New Menu Items

How do the nation’s largest coffee shops keep things both fresh and consistent? Consumers return to their favorite cafes and restaurants every day because of trust and familiarity. But these businesses also need to periodically update their menus to provide new experiences for their customers. This requires a bit of a balancing act between what is new, and what is familiar. This is where branding plays a huge role.

Strong branding allows major companies like Starbucks, Dunkin’, and Caribou Coffee to maintain that key consistency and familiarity while also refreshing their menu each year. Food branding can reassure consumers that the brands they trust will continue to deliver high-quality items consistent with their expectations. To show how it’s done, here’s a look at the branding strategies these companies are using for this year’s new menu items.

Food Branding for Major Chains: Caribou Coffee, Dunkin’, and Starbucks

Caribou Coffee’s New Espresso Shakers

Caribou Coffee’s new spring 2023 menu centers around its espresso shaker beverages. These iced coffee beverages are available in three popular flavors: caramel, vanilla, and white chocolate.

Caribou has a few central tenets to its overall branding strategy. Namely, they emphasize sustainability, responsibly-sourced ingredients, ingredient quality, and customer experience. All of these ideas are on display in their new menu branding.

A major emphasis in Caribou Coffee’s branding of their menu items is that customers can substitute almond or oat milk for no additional charge. This marketing emphasizes the brand’s clean label initiative, while also being vegan-friendly and customer friendly.

Caribou Coffee also leverages its own reputation for quality to market their products. Their new menu items are refreshing, but remain true to the brand’s core identity as a coffee-first business. The available flavors are all classics, making it easier for consumers to have faith in Caribou’s new items.


Dunkin’s new 2023 Spring menu features an injection of new flavors for familiar items. One of the biggest changes is the introduction of butter pecan-flavored coffee and doughnuts as a permanent addition to the menu. Other seasonal flavors include raspberry watermelon and mango pineapple Refreshers, caramel cold brew coffee, and a carrot cake muffin.

Dunkin’s branding is centered around being an integral part of the daily routine. “America runs on Dunkin’”, meaning America counts on America to stay refreshed and energized. Dunkin’s spring menu branding emphasizes this point, remarking that their new flavors will, “awaken taste buds and energize guests for the upcoming spring season.” Dunkin’s new items center around sweet and fruity flavors to coincide with warmer weather and more sunshine. Like Dunkin’ itself these flavors are familiar and reliable, but exactly the pick-me-up that customers need during the day.


The newest addition to the Starbucks menu is the Starbucks Oleato line of olive oil-infused coffee beverages. Starbucks is America’s largest coffee chain, serving millions of customers each day. Starbucks consumers trust the brand to deliver high-quality coffee products and unique, enjoyable flavors.

Promotional material for the Oleato has centered around tradition and quality. The recipe was born out of a deep appreciation for the care and craftsmanship of authentic Partanna olive oil. Promotional images highlight the rich brown of Starbucks coffee contrasted against the pale coloring of the olive oil. Together, the promotional copy and images highlight two central pillars of Starbucks’ food branding: quality ingredients, and bold flavors. 

Like Starbucks coffee itself, the olive oil used in the new Oleata beverages is crafted with incredible care and precision. While the new infusion may seem unconventional at first, Starbucks uses its branding to highlight how it’s a perfect marriage of quality ingredients. By combining two rich, historic traditions, Starbucks is creating a new and exciting flavor for its loyal customers to try.

How to Craft Effective Food Marketing Content

Food marketing is not only important for major coffee chains. Small food businesses and restaurants can also leverage effective marketing to draw in and retain more customers. Making excellent food products is only half the battle. Getting people to notice, and to fall in love with your food is equally as important.

This begins with having a clear food branding strategy. When choosing where to eat, consumers want to know what to expect from the business they choose. Effective branding, whether through seasonal flavors, nutritional information, bold flavors, or something else, is critical. 

If you are looking to enhance your food branding online, Web Content Development can help. From content strategies and brand management to SEO-backed website management, WCD can help grow your business organically. Contact us today to learn more.

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About the Author

Erica D’Arcangelo – De Silva

Erica D’Arcangelo – De Silva has worked in the Internet marketing industry for the last 20-years. Erica is the top-secret SEO weapon to marketing and advertising agencies in the world. She has generated over 300+ million in revenue for high-value brands such as Walmart, Pottery Barn, iRobot, Cutting Edge Firewood, Kelley Blue Book, and many more. Erica has custom-created more than 1,000 content, SEO, and marketing strategies which held the key to doubling and tripling online traffic, and marketing ROI. She has also authored a series of online publications including The Digital Branding Survival Guide, Million Dollar Marketing, 5 Steps to Increase Web Traffic by Blogging, and Repairing Your Online Reputation.