Coffee Competition: Does Virginia Prefer Starbucks or Dunkin’?

Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

The official first day of autumn is Saturday, which means the weather is getting cooler. But two things are heating up – football season at Virginia sportsbooks, and an ever-increasing number of steaming coffee cups.

National Coffee Day is Sept. 29, so brewed up some numbers, let them percolate and served them up to you in an effort to determine which is the more popular coffee megachain, Starbucks or Dunkin’ – by the way, Dunkin’ is the official corporate name but almost everybody still calls it Dunkin’ Donuts.

Favorite Coffee Brand In Virginia

Name Stores per 100k Search Interest Weighted Score
Starbucks 5.58 0.73 3.155
Dunkin’ 2.58 0.27 1.425

And The Winner Is…

Using data from Google Trends, StarbMag and VinePair, – where you can claim a number of Virginia sportsbook promotions – did a national sweep of research to determine if each state preferred Dunkin’ or Starbucks. First, we found the number of locations per 100,000 people that each chain has listed. Then we compared search interest for “Starbucks near me” against search interest for “Dunkin’ Donuts near me.” From these categories, we created a weighted scoring system to determine a winner.

The search interest is expressed as a percentage of people searching for one of the two shops; in Virginia, 73% of users looking for one or the other sought information on Starbucks, against 27% for Dunkin’ Donuts. So the Seattle-based brand wins that round.

According to, there are 489 Starbucks locations in Virginia as of 2023, or about 5.58 per 100,000 people in the commonwealth. That’s compared to 226 Dunkin’ Donuts – again, the edge goes to Starbucks. In all, Starbucks had 3.155 points in our weighted scoring system, easily outpacing Dunkin’ with its 1.425 points.

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How Do Brands Compare Nationally?

As one might expect from a Northeast institution, Dunkin’ fared best in that part of the country. In all, the brand founded in Quincy, Massachusetts, carried 10 states in our research. That included all six New England states except for New Hampshire, plus big population centers New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland (and the not-so-big state of Delaware).

But Virginia joins the large majority of states in choosing Starbucks, at least according to our numbers. It’s not always a fair fight – according to, six states did not have any Dunkin’ shops at all as of 2021, and a few states only have a single-digit number of locations. Starbucks, on the other hand, has double-digit locations in every state except Vermont (where it has eight) and California has 3,080. The biggest state for Dunkin’ is New York, with 1,435 locations there.

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Jim Tomlin has nearly 30 years of experience in journalism, having worked at such publications as the Tampa Bay Times, FanRag, Saturdays Down South and Saturday Tradition. He is a contributing writer and editor for

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