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Dunkin’ joins the race out of Russia

Canton-based breakfast-food chain halts corporate support and expansion but can’t close its 20 franchisee-owned stores

A Dunkin' location in Boston.Jessica Rinaldi

Russia no longer runs on Dunkin’.

The Canton-based coffee and doughnut company is halting “all current development and investment in Russia,” amidst that country’s invasion of Ukraine, a Dunkin’ spokesperson said in a Thursday afternoon e-mail.

The company’s “approximately 20″ locations in Russia will not necessarily close, as they are owned and operated by “a local, independent franchise owner,” the spokesman said. But the company, which is owned by Atlanta-based Inspire Brands, will withdraw corporate support and halt any future growth.

The coffee conglomerate’s decision comes two days after competitors Starbucks and McDonalds announced that they would be suspending operations in Russia, joining the over 330 other companies that have pulled their business out of the country.

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But because Dunkin’ stores are owned by independent franchisees, the company doesn’t have legal control to shut down its shops in Russia, the spokesperson added. Some other large American restaurant chains, such as Burger King, KFC, and Pizza Hut, have similar arrangements.

Dunkin’ was facing mounting pressure to shut its stores after earning a spot on Yale professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld’s list of companies still operating in Russia during its invasion of Ukraine. Dunkin’ was listed as having 150 locations in Russia in the Yale database, but the Dunkin’ spokesperson confirmed the company only has about 20 stores in the country and said they have reached out to the researchers to issue a correction.

It’s not the first time the doughnut giant has pulled out of Russia. In 1999, Dunkin’ closed its stores “following three years of losses exacerbated by a rogue franchisee who sold liquor and meat pies” along with the company’s usual breakfast treats, according to the Wall Street Journal. Dunkin’ returned to Russia in 2010.


Annie Probert can be reached at annie.probert@globe.com.