Dunkin’ Donuts Founder Began with Food Trucks!

William Rosenberg - Founder of Dunkin Donuts

By Nancy V Canfield | Yahoo! Contributor Network

William Rosenberg - Founder of Dunkin Donuts

William Rosenberg started delivering meals and coffee to factory workers around Boston Massachusetts in 1946. He had some success, and decided to build a coffee and donut shop. Rosenberg called it “The Open

Kettle.” It too was successful, so in 1950, he opened another little store in Quincy and called it “Dunkin’ Donuts.”

I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Rosenberg not only for having the foresight to found the International Franchise Association, for his philanthropic endeavors in a number of worthwhile causes, and for his successful pursuit of the American Dream, but also for making each and every one of my mornings more enjoyable. He knew how to make one damn good cup of coffee.

William Rosenberg was born in Boston and attended public schools until the Depression forced him to leave the eighth grade and go to work for Western Union, to help support his family. At 17, he began work for an ice cream distribution company. By 20, he was Assistant Manager, and by 21, he became National Sales Manager. When WWII broke out, he went to work for Bethlehem Steel in Hingham, MA, and rose to Union Delegate and later the Contract Coordinator.

After the war, Rosenberg borrowed $1000. Along with his own $1500 in war bonds, he started a “mobile industrial catering business,” amassing 140 catering trucks, 25 in-plant outlets and a vending operation. When he realized that 40% of his revenue was from coffee and donuts, he did what any savvy business entrepreneur would do. He went where the demand was, and Dunkin’ Donuts was born.

Rosenberg lived the American Dream. He rose from the depths of the Great Depression, with a limited education, a passion for business, and knowledge that his future was in his hands and his hands alone. In 1966, he wrote what I would consider to be his “Ten Commandments” of building a successful organization:

1. Seek out the best people.
2. Compensate them the best.
3. Share your profits and equity with them.
4. Treat them with respect.

5. Share your goals and strategies with them. Create a family atmosphere, a sense of belonging, and give recognition for accomplishments.
6. Make certain your credibility is unquestionable.
7. Set the highest possible standards.
8. Enthusiastically instill in them your passion to achieve excellence in all your combined endeavors.
9. Give the responsibility and authority to achieve.
10. Periodically check and follow through that your standards and philosophies are adhered to.

Apparently his perspective worked. Because of his success, he has been called “the father of franchising as we know it today,” and “one of the most influential and innovative individuals the food service industry has ever known,” by Nation’s Restaurant News, and a “visionary” by Success magazine.

William Rosenberg passed away in 2002 at his home in Cape Cod, MA, at the age of 86. He left a loving family, and a comfortable life, but he also left behind a legacy of hard work, dedication, perseverance, generosity, and the true American spirit of success. Oh, yes, and a great cup of coffee.