I am not a customer of Dunkin’ Donuts, so I know very little about their origin story. When Around the Corner, Around the World hit my reading radar, I was intrigued and was compelled to read it. I was pleasantly surprised because the book is a mini MBA on how to grow a small business into an international brand. Bruce Reed calls the book a masterclass in smart growth and thoughtful leadership.
Book Title: Around the Corner to Around the World: A Dozen Lessons I Learned Running Dunkin Donuts by Robert Rosenberg
Analytics: Amazon 4.7 on 135 ratings | Goodreads 3.9 on 192 ratings
Book Pairing: Time to Make the Donuts by William Rosenburg
- The reason we like books by CEOs instead of leadership books.
- William and Robert Rosenberg, the father-son team that built the Donut empire.
- “Son, I want you to be CEO.” The perfect gift for a newly-minted Harvard MBA.
- While 13k stores in 40 countries are impressive, so is 95% brand recognition.
- The first store opening was in 1950 in Quincy, MA, but Dunkin’ Donuts was not the original name.
- Chickens are plucked, and donuts are dunked.
- Dunkin’ Donuts was the first mainstream restaurant to make coffee the centerpiece of its menu.
- Dunkin’ Donuts was the third Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR) to go public (1968).
- Bob reveals he is not perfect. At one point, the Board asked him to find his replacement.
- Each chapter is written around Bob’s four management/leadership pillars: strategy, organization, communication, and crisis management.
- A quick mention of William’s book, Time to Make the Donuts.
- Was there an icy relationship throughout Bob’s leadership tenure? We see it more in William’s book, not so much so in Bob’s.
- A brother-in-law who felt slighted, which led to the donut wars.
- From $1.5 million to $40 million, to $320 million, to $6.5 billion.
- Son, “If not now, when?”
- Bob’s response on when to sell is the best line I’ve ever read from an exit planning point of view.
- Great Board advice, especially the idea of quarterly themes.
- Exploitation and experimentation.
- VMO – vision, mission, objectives.
- Drucker’s advice on succession planning is don’t just pick a person but clearly define the role beforehand.
- Bob’s reading list is fascinating, especially his selection of The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam.
- Suggestions on who should read this book.
“You sell when you have neither the energy nor the ideas to achieve your financial objectives. That is the time to sell and allow another management team that does have the vision and energy to pick up the baton.”
“In 1950, the coffee business began what would become a fifty-year decline in coffee usage, yet we were growing despite this mighty headwind. To combat that trend, we committed to offering the best cup of coffee in the world. I cannot recall even one conversation that suggested altering quality to save on costs.”
“If the leadership shows itself incompetent or of poor character, it cannot be fixed from the middle or the bottom.”
“In my experience, successful leadership is part art and part science. The portion that is art—qualities like empathy, creativity, aspiration, and introspection—may be instinctual, traits that someone may be gifted at birth.”
“A word to would-be entrepreneurs who aspire to a leadership role in their company: apprenticeship plays a major role in the likelihood of success.”
“I have found that an active and engaged board of directors, whether in a public or private company, dramatically raises the level of discipline and professionalism brought to the planning process.”
Rosenberg’s Partial Book List
- Profit from the Core
- The Tao of Leadership
- Leadership Is an Art
- Boards That Lead
- You Are What You Say
- Good to Great
- Leading Change
A Life Worth Saving
Dame Stephanie ‘Steve’ Shirley
Upside Down Management at Timpson
What it Takes