If you call the Dunkin’ Donuts store in Santa Monica, California today, the first thing you’ll notice is the sound of pandemonium in the background. Then a friendly employee, barely audible over the chaos in the background, is heard: “Dunkin’ Donuts Santa Monica, how can I help you?’’
The employee sounds upbeat, even as the crowd of people that began gathering outside the Dunkin’ location on Sunday night is now filling the store.
Southern California’s first Dunkin’ Donuts opens tomorrow morning in Santa Monica and people are camping out pic.twitter.com/HimTyZNdCu— Jon Passantino (@passantino) September 2, 2014
After reports of eager customers setting up camp outside the Santa Monica location, Boston.com reached out to learn just how crazy things were getting. The answer we got? “Let me put you on with someone who can answer your questions because I’m kind of in the middle of the line.’’
Before long, Public Relations Manager Justin Drake was on the phone to explain that they had 300 people waiting outside when they first opened the doors at 5 a.m. and that the earliest customers had actually been camping out since Sunday night. According to CBS Los Angeles, the first 100 earned a swag bag and a man named Johnny Hoops, the very first person in line, won free coffee for a year.
In the hours since Mr. Hoops walked in the door, the chorus of customers has been bustling through one of five stores that are expected to open this year. Another 200 stores are expected to come as Dunkin’ makes its return to the Golden State for the first time since the 1990s.
“We’re excited to be back in California. There’s a lot of excitement,’’ Drake said. “We just look forward to keeping California running on Dunkin’.’’
And keep them running, Dunkin’ shall. Drake said they served 100 customers in the first hour and that the line has been moving pretty quickly despite a consistent stream of new people eager to get their coffee and munchkins.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a “coffee regular,’’ worry not. That imaginary line at the New York border where “coffee regular’’ stops meaning a coffee with cream and sugar doesn’t apply in Santa Monica. Drake said the issue had already come up a couple times, and that their team is ready to fulfill that order as a New Englander would expect.