Ray Omar joined Dunkin’ Donuts in 2008 during the height of the recession, after spending seven years in the Army. Despite challenging market times, he opened his first freestanding Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru restaurant in January 2010 in Hyattsville, Maryland and has since opened two more locations. His fourth location will open in 2017 and a fifth will follow.
After transitioning out of the Army in 2007, Ray took a government job in Maryland and soon realized that the mid-Atlantic did not have a strong Dunkin’ Donuts presence– very unlike his New York City upbringing where “it’s a staple on every corner.” Already a frequent consumer of the brand’s products, Ray felt becoming a franchisee with a company he knew and loved, was an opportunity he should explore. Plus, Dunkin' Donuts offers qualified veterans who purchase a store development agreement for five or fewer stores a 20 percent discount on the initial franchise fee.
As a military veteran used to having strict systems in place, joining a company such as Dunkin’ Donuts that offered a strong, cross-functional support structure was essential for Ray to build his business. “The tools and resources my field teams brought to me were invaluable. Whether I needed helped with site selection, construction management, crew training or operations, I was always able to consult with a subject matter expert to ensure that I was making the best possible decision,” Omar said. “With their support and guidance, I was empowered.”
Eight years later, Ray is very involved with the Maryland community, not only hiring local employees but also partnering with various organizations. For the past five years, his restaurants have raised $5,000 annually for the Maryland Special Olympics, and he frequently donates boxes of Joe and baked goods to the local Habitat for Humanity. For Ray and his team, “being active and giving back is a central component to our continued growth.”
Still a loyal Dunkin’ Donuts customer, Ray continues to be impressed with the company’s product innovation and credits the leadership team for “staying one step ahead of the competition.”
When asked what his plans are for the future, Ray says “opening more Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants, but in the near term, enjoying a fresh cup, or two, of coffee every morning.”