Starbucks vs. Dunkin’ Donuts: Which one do employees prefer?

Susanna Kahr

It’s again that time of the year again! The time of year that latte lovers have been looking forward to for months it’s Pumpkin Spice Latte season again! It’s a love or hate thing! It either makes young girls scream in front of Starbucks cafés in October or makes people avoid it all together.  Some would say that even the saintly pumpkin spice latte wouldn’t make them go to Starbucks, since they get better coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. But, what do we think? We’re not going to get into it today, for us it’s about which one has better tasting coffee but about which one leaves a better taste for its employees. We want to know which one has a better atmosphere for employees, better opening hours and better scheduling. Curious to see who wins? Get yourself a hot drink and settle in, because the employer duel between Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts is about to begin!

Starbucks: Brewed for those who love their employees?

“The company was good, not the best job I ever had, but it was an amazing learning experience and helped me grow.” – anonymous employer review

No matter where you are, whether you’re in Paris or New York, in Buenos Aires or Dubai, in every major city you’ll find that familiar green logo and that comforting smell of coffee at Starbucks, of course! The idea for an international coffee house chain was born in 1971 in a small coffee and spice shop in Seattle. Starbucks has since gone on to conquer the world, as well as the hearts of many latte lovers. But what about the employees? Has their employer won their hearts too?

If you look at kununu, one of the world’s largest employer rating platforms, you’ll quickly discover that Starbucks stands out as an employer in the catering industry. Because while catering companies often have a reputation for treating their employees like used coffee filters as opposed to delicious, lovable coffee beans, Starbucks has a different story to tell. With a score of 3.88 points, Starbucks clearly stands out from the industry average of 3.33 points on kununu. This is also reflected in the individual ratings: „I feel like I was valued for the most part and they were flexible and understanding.“ This appreciation arises from the fact that the individual needs of the employees are taken into account. If, for example, you study and work on the side, the shifts are planned around your university schedule. Another employee writes that he can also count on his employer if he has health problems: “I was also supported when it came to my physical health. I was going through a lot but one of my managers really went out of his way to help with what was going on.” Perhaps the good treatment of the employees also explains why as a guest you always get a smile with your coffee. Employees not only seem to love their job, but also their customers. “I loved interacting with coworkers and guests. I learned all about diversity and cultures through this job. I learned time management and how to be better at customer service and appropriate interaction.” And it’s a “great place to feel valued and meet all kinds of people”, former employees write on kununu. Despite all of this praise, there is also a bit of criticism from Starbucks employees. On kununu, for example, one notices casual comments about the fact that the salary could be higher or that employees would like to have more vacation. And if you need to stay longer, the colleagues help you through,, because they are rated with a sensational teamwork score of 3.99 which is really impressive! Don’t believe us? Then read about it for yourself or check their great kununu score of 3.99 points for Teamwork: “Great place to feel valued and meet all kinds of people.”. or “I met some amazing people who have remained in my life since I left the job.” 


Dunkin’ Donuts: Employees run on Dunkin’?

“Dunkin Donuts is easy enough work but the management and customers are hard to deal with often.” – anonymous employer review

Did you know that Dunkin’ Donuts was founded twenty years before Starbucks? Today, with over 12,000 stores, it is one of the largest coffee chains in the world and yet they sometimes have trouble with being taken seriously. Surely you remember Ellen DeGenere’s parody, in which she rewrote Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love” into “Dunkin Love”? But what’s behind this? Are the employees of Dunkin’ Donuts also Dunkin Love?

If you look around kununu, you’ll find a very different feeling! In some stores it seems to be as sweet as the sugar on the donut’s signature ink glaze, in other stores it feels as bitter as stale coffee. But some serious problems seem to occur in all stores, such as sexism: ”There was obvious favoritism with the girls on my team especially the ones who would laugh off my bosses sexual harassment.” And that’s not all, another user writes on kununu: “Not really treating women fairly. One woman can have her nails done or not be wearing the correct uniform and not get in trouble but if another woman did that, they would get chewed out.” No wonder a former employee thinks that customers are the only thing that adds a bit of fun to his day-to-day work. This sounds sad, right? Thank God there are also a few positive voices and employees in other stores who like their jobs: I enjoy my job here, everyone gets along with each other, says one employer. Similar to Starbucks, the staff here also say that it’s a perfect student job, so a former staff member writes that it was an easy job to make extra money while going to college. Besides a little extra money, there is another thing that sweetens the working day at Dunkin’ Donuts. After all, even if you sell treats and deliciouscoffee all day long, you get hungry, don’t you? That’s why all employees get one coffee a day for free, as well as one meal. Doesn’t sound so bad anymore? Well for what we can see it’s a mix of pros and cons. But a kununu user sums up the working conditions almost perfectly: “Dunkin Donuts is easy enough work but the management is hard to deal with often.” Because one thing is clear – sexual harassment brings absolutely nothing good to the workplace, especially not for the supervisor. But does this serious problem cost Dunkin Donuts the victory in this employer duel?


Starbucks vs. Dunkin’ Donuts: Who wins the golden coffee cup?

The time has come! The moment of truth has arrived and here comes the answer to all those burning questions for Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts fans. Is your favourite coffee shop also the best employer?

We’d love to tell you that it was a head-to-head race, but unfortunately the winner is very clear. With an almost constant score of 3.88, Starbucks has clearly earned the golden coffee cup among coffee house chains and is the clear winner in the employers’ duel. Dunkin Donuts, on the other hand, can hardly be said to be in a crisis. Since 2015, the score of the American company has improved continuously, but the water (or the coffee?) is still not enough for Starbucks. Dunkin Donuts, for example, is far behind with an average score of 3.35.



If you look at the kununu ratings, this result is hardly surprising. While Starbucks not only treats its guests well, but also its employees and responds to their individual needs, Dunkin Donuts is still struggling with sexism in the 21st century which is not cool! That’s why, congratulations go to, Starbucks! And dear Dunkin Donuts Team, what do you think, should you perhaps take another look at the behavior guidelines for your managers?



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