01/04/2012 04:33 pm ET Updated Jan 05, 2012

Dunkin' Donuts Expansion: Chain Says It Will Double Number Of U.S. Stores

Dunkin' Brands opened its 10,000th location of Dunkin' Donuts in mid-December. That's a major milestone; only a few restaurant chains have made it to five digits. But the Canton, Mass.-based company isn't ready to rest just yet. According to CNN, Dunkin' plans to double its number of U.S. locations over the next two decades. Talk about the long game!

Doubling the number of outposts would mean opening a whopping 7000 new donut stores -- which would bring the total above Starbucks' current 11,000.

But Dunkin' is approaching this tremendous task with more than blind ambition. (Unlike, ahem, some of its rivals.)

The company went public last summer, arming it with a half-billion dollar war chest. International sales, especially in Asia, have been strong, so the company has some real cash flow for opening new stores. And perhaps most importantly, Dunkin' just announced that it had named DBP Partners as the sole distributor for foodstuffs to its franchises, which representatives have said will streamline the expansion process.

Moreover though Dunkin' Donuts feels ubiquitous in some places, like Connecticut, huge swathes of the country are almost untouched by the chain. That means there's still plenty of room for Dunkin' to grow -- and as Dunkin' grows, so do Americans.

UPDATE: After we posted this piece, several readers wrote in, via Twitter and on the comment board, asking for more detail on the geographic distribution of the Dunkin' Donuts expansion. Many of you were especially eager to hear whether Dunkin' would be headed for California -- so we wrote to the company to find out. Jessica Gioglio, the brand's Public Relations and Social Media Manager, wrote back to us with the following statement:

Dunkin' Donuts is currently focused on a contiguous growth strategy, recently announcing plans to expand into the following areas: Colorado (Denver), Louisiana (Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Shreveport) and New Mexico (Albuquerque). As we continue to expand our footprint across the country, the western part of the United States represents a significant growth opportunity for Dunkin' Donuts, and we are focused on a disciplined development in contiguous markets that are adjacent to our existing base.