Donut trashing & TikTok bashing

By: Samantha Puleo

(Snippet from Bryan Johnston’s viral TikTok video, where he shows how many donuts are thrown out each night. Image credit: Yahoo!News)

We all know and love the franchise Dunkin Donuts. Their donuts are classic and their coffee has always been a staple for people, especially in New England. Through the years we’ve come to the realization that Dunkins throws away any leftover donuts on its shelves by the end of each day, but this was never truly publicized within the media until, February of 2021. Where Dunkin’s employee, Bryan Johnston had gone viral for posting multiple videos of himself throwing away more than 300 donuts at the end of of his shifts on TikTok.

(A featured comment on one of the videos Bryan had posted, where it is requested that they be given to homeless people. Image credit: Bored Panda)

After posting this video, there were many demands in the comment section of the video requesting for these donuts to be sent to homeless shelters and questions of why Dunkin continuously throws away the leftovers each night? The main answer to this would be that it is company policy and if Dunkins were to freely distribute the donuts to these shelters and someone was to get sick from them, Dunkins could easily be sued. It may not sound like the best method of throwing away food but for the companies financial well-being this is the solution. If Dunkins was to send donuts to a homeless shelter it is said that they would have to create a specific program to do so. So, until this happens these left over donuts will be thrown out, whether the public agrees or disagrees.

(Bryan’s confirmation that he was fired from Dunkin, this was taken through Snapchat. Image credit: Bored Panda)

So what happened to Bryan after this occurred? Well, the corporate office of Dunkin found out about the videos and immediately ordered Bryan’s manager to fire him. Later, Bryan had started to buy from Krispy Kreme and give away to frontline healthcare workers. This I assume to be a retaliation against Dunkin. But this all begs two questions, was it ethical to fire him over this and does this show the public where Dunkin’s loyalty truly lies? A lot of people believe that it was indeed unethical to fire Bryan over this matter. In my opinion, it was definitely harsh in the eyes of someone who is not in the food industry, but thinking in terms of this industry, I have to agree with Dunkin’s actions. I think for them this is just a clear message of bad publicity. Also, by firing Bryan, this can be an example to other employees of what can happen to them if they exploit Dunkin’s policies. This then brings around the thought of Dunkin’s loyalties. I would definitely say that they have a clear loyalty to the self by immediately firing an employee that can potentially harm their brand. As for a loyalty to society, I’d say yes and no. On the yes side, they are technically still protecting people from getting sick from their leftover food, but also on the no side, they could be more proactive and try to create programs for feeding the homeless and discontinue this notion of them wasting food. Maybe this role situation just goes to show us that even when we think we are making a difference, we may actually be hurting ourselves.