Dunkin’ Donuts vs. bagels; also: Hormel profits suffer, Target’s same-store sales fall, and General Mills dishes out for lobbying

I noted in yesterday’s Business Agenda that Dunkin’ Donuts plans to roll out 100 stores in the Twin Cities. I’ve had a theory (not sure if it’s original or not) that for whatever reason we’re just a bagel town; that donuts will never do well here. Maybe we’re too health conscious. Maybe Bruegger’s is too dominant for sugary competitors to establish themselves. (Like a Northwest Airlines for breakfast food.) Or maybe it’s something else, but I think there’s something to it.

I did a quick, unscientific study this morning in an attempt to build some evidence for my bagel theory. Using the online phone book Switchboard, I tallied the number of search results for “bagels” and “donuts” in half a dozen random cities. Minneapolis is the only one that turned up more hits for bagels (31) than donuts (16). That’s almost a two-to-one ratio of bagel to donut shops. Here are the full results:

City Bagel Donut
Chicago 162*


Kansas City 5 16
Minneapolis 31 16
New York 180 200
San Francisco 18 45
Seattle 12 28

*Roughly half of the “bagel” search results for Chicago were Dunkin’ Donut locations.

Hormel Foods’ third-quarter profits were plucked some by rising feed and fuel costs for the Jennie-O Turkey Store. The company, based in Austin, Minn., said in a news release today that it expects investors to earn between 37 and 39 cents per share for the third quarter, compared to 41 cents last year. CEO Jeffrey Ettinger said the problem was worsened by an “oversupply of turkey breast meat.” He expects the feed and fuel trends to continue through the fiscal year.

Target’s same-store sales fell 1.2 percent in July,
and investment blogger Todd Sullivan takes the company to task for how it reported the decline. The performance was “near the low end of our -1% to +1% planned range,” CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in the news release. Sullivan writes: “Uh, Greg. Let’s do a little basic math here.” A decline of 1.2 percent is not “near the low end” but past the low end, he points out. Target missed its own expectations and “[p]erhaps the worse news is that their CEO does not seem to realize they missed it.”

General Mills spent $243,000 during the second quarter lobbying Congress on issues including the farm bill, school nutrition and renewable fuels, Associated Press reports. Meanwhile, Best Buy spent $100,000 during the same quarter lobbying the federal government on the conversion to digital television, as well as on credit card transactions, electronics recycling and solar power. The reports come from documents recently filed with the U.S. House clerk’s office.

And a correction: I thought the Carlos Gomez stunt double theory was plausible, but turns out I just misread the press release for Best Buy’s Mall of America store grand opening. Gomez and Killebrew actually appear 7 p.m. next Saturday, Aug. 16. Seems like even that could be a close play. The Twins have a 3 o’clock home game against the Mariners. Two of the Twins’ three games in Seattle this week dragged out longer than three hours. Good thing for the light rail!

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Mark Snyder on 08/08/2008 - 12:33 pm.

    I would imagine the bagels vs. donuts argument has some merit to it, but don’t overlook the role that independent bakeries might play.

    I always preferred going to Blackey’s Bakery before the owners retired and now go to Sarah Jane’s. There are lots of other small bakeries around that compete very well with chains.

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