Drew Brees is running on Dunkin’.
Dunkin’ Donuts on Tuesday announced that the company would open 69 new locations in New Orleans and a handful of other Louisiana cities over the next few years under a partnership with Brees and existing franchisee Vik Patel. The first new locations under the pact are expected to open this year—adding new restaurants to a group that will also co-own five existing locations in the region. Other cities that will see new Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants include Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Monroe.
The franchisee led by Patel has already worked with Dunkin’ Donuts for a decade now and currently operates 46 restaurants in Alabama, Florida and Louisiana. Called Bourbon Street Donuts, the business lists Brees and former New York Giants offensive lineman and current FOX Sports broadcaster David Diehl as partners.
The move to expand in Louisiana comes as Dunkin’ Donuts parent Dunkin’ Brands (DNKN) aims to bolster the company’s presence in the Southeast region of the country. The company—which relies almost completely on a franchised business model—is well known in the Northeast as Dunkin’ Donuts is based in Massachusetts. The company’s long-term goal is for the brand to hit over 17,000 locations in the U.S.
Dunkin’ same-store sales growth consistently underperforms main publicly traded rival Starbucks (SBUX), as Starbucks has been more nimble when it comes to incorporating new coffee trends its menu and by investing quickly in a popular mobile platform that has driven sales. Dunkin’, meanwhile, is a quick-service restaurant that operates in between the high and low end of the fast-food market—a spot the company has conceded can be a difficult place to be.
The partnership with Brees—a well-known name in Louisiana—could help the brand see a jolt in sales as it moves forward with dozens of new restaurant openings in the region. Brees has recently committed to at least playing out the final year of his contract with the Saints in 2017.
“Drew has proven his commitment to New Orleans—both on and off the field—and we couldn’t ask for a better partner to help expand Dunkin’ Donuts’ presence in Louisiana,” Patel said in a statement.