MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It may be the most recognizable donut and coffee chain in America. But it seems like Dunkin’ Donuts is everywhere but here. So, why are some big chains absent from Minnesota?

“Dunkin’ Donuts is in 36 of the 50 states,” said Dave Brennan, a marketing professor at the University of St. Thomas.

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Brennan said Dunkin’ Donuts is as close as Wisconsin, but doesn’t cross the border. The reason: Minnesota is well-fortified.

“We have Caribou, who has over 200 locations of which 82 are here in the Twin Cities. And we have over 70 Dunn Brothers,” Brennan said.

In a lot of cases, Brennan says established competition can scare away a big name chain. But there are other reasons.

Worldwide, 7-Eleven has more than 50,000 stores and used to be big in Minnesota until Brennan says it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Super America took over a lot of 7-Eleven stores in the Twin Cities.

Brennan says market research is ultimately the deciding factor for who comes and goes.

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Dillard’s Department Stores is kind of like the Macy’s of the south, so they stay there.

“They are very comfortable in the south because that’s where they are rooted and they know and understand the consumer better,” Brennan said.

Others are comfortable with a slow expansion like In-N-Out Burger in California.

Georgia-born Chick-Fil-A is finally getting comfortable in Minnesota and will open two more locations in the Twin Cities this fall.

“It’s very much like a chess game,” Brennan said.

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Brennan said that while restaurants like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts are not here, their donuts and coffee can be found at Twin Cities grocery stores. That allows them to have a market presence, even if they don’t have actual Minnesota locations.

John Lauritsen