I love donuts. My favourite donut place is probably Peter Pan in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (google “Peter Pan Bakery: A Documentary Film” to see why. Donuts can lay a better claim to the status of primary all-American pastry tradition than any other pastry that springs to mind. Definitely more than the patriotic apple pie that was so omnipresent in Europe that it was brought to America from three distinct culinary traditions. Speaking of culinary traditions, why shouldn’t we import American donuts? We’ve got Thai folks selling noodles and Turks flinging kebabs—let the Yanks serve their donuts.
So how do I feel about Dunkin’ Donuts?
I have yearned to be able to buy a dozen assorted donuts in a pink box since I first saw it on ‘The Simpsons’. ‘The Simpsons’ taught me:
- to question authority,
- to embrace my inner sloth,
- who Darryl Strawberry was, and
- to crave donuts.
How do I feel about American companies coming here?
They’ve been coming here for ages. We probably got the first one with the American occupying force. The first American chain restaurant would have been KFC in Hafnarfjörður in 1980 (this historical monument is still there, although now it’s a combo place with Taco Bell). Pizza Hut was probably second to open in Iceland, sometime in the mid-1980s.
Is it a good thing?
I don’t have a say in it—it’s basic supply and demand—but personally, I almost always prefer small local operations over international chains, as the quality of the food is higher, the service is often more personal and they can take on character and charm in a way that a international chain can’t compete with.
Occasionally I will prefer an international chain over a local chain (how is Dunkin’ Donuts worse than local Starbucks clone chain Te og Kaffi?), and some international chains are better than others. For example, I find Dunkin’ massively superior to Starbucks, at least in the States. Because Dunkin’ is a moderately-priced no-frills chain that does the job of offering massive containers of regular black coffee with half-and-half and a decent pastry to an army of over-worked, sleep-deprived wage slaves.
Are people going to be happy?
Read any travelogue written after 1703, the year coffee was introduced to Iceland, and you will see that Icelandic history is fuelled by two things: coffee and sugar. Coffee has traditionally been served before, during, and after meals—morning, noon, and night. And no table was complete without a jar of sugar: we drizzle it over blood sausage, turnip mash, pancakes, whatever we get our hands on. Still to this day we are some of the most unrepentant sugar addicts in Europe and attempts to tax our love away were an abysmal failure.
So a joint that serves sweet pastries and coffee should do well here. It’s true that the bakery tradition is stronger in Iceland than it is in your average American city and the quality of the baked goods are relatively high here, but I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR 20 FUCKING YEARS FOR A BAKERY TO START SELLING MY PINK BOX WITH A DOZEN ASSORTED DONUTS. Homer Simpson made me a promise. Icelandic bakeries had their chance. They failed. Bring it, Dunkin’.
Do I care?
As you can see, I care about stuff like this way more than I should.
You may also be interested in the following article:
American Food Chain Dunkin’ Donuts Is Poised To Appear Around Iceland
Stepping out onto the main street of most European capitals these days, it would be plain odd not to see a Starbucks or a McDonald’s.