Dunkin' Donuts, an East Coast favorite for coffee and donut holes, is bringing its quick-stop restaurants to Northern California.

Dunkin' Donuts, whose signature creamy and sweetened coffee is a favorite among New Englanders, is looking to open about 80 franchise locations in Northern California beginning in the second half of 2015, said Steve Rafferty, senior director of U.S. franchise operations for parent company Dunkin' Brands Group Inc.

"That Northern California market has a lot of big coffee drinkers," he said. "Coffee holds a special place in the way that people plan their day."

The company is looking to add restaurants in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Monterey, Eureka, Chico and Redding.

The Canton, Mass.-based chain has been on a westward expansion, recently adding locations in Colorado, Texas and Utah. Plans for Northern California restaurants, announced this week, come just months after Dunkin' Donuts made its debut in the state with two locations in Southern California -- an express location in a travel center in Barstow and another restaurant at Camp Pendleton -- and has agreements for 100 more franchises. The company added restaurants in October in the Central Valley and Central Coast, and said it will eventually have 1,000 locations across the state.

Northern California will be a challenging market, Rafferty said, because real estate is expensive and hard to come by.


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"A lot of the other coffee competitors and quick-serve restaurants are already there," he said. "We're the last ones in. And we know there are drive-through restrictions in certain towns and it will be a little more challenging for us to get the best corner."

Dunkin' Brands said in a statement it plans to open 380 to 410 new locations in the U.S. next year, and possibly hundreds more internationally. It opened its first locations in the United Kingdom and Vietnam last year and plans to open 100 restaurants in China this year.

Dunkin' Donuts, which also sells muffins, breakfast sandwiches and frozen drinks, plans to have 15,000 locations in the U.S. by 2020.

Contact Heather Somerville at 510-208-6413. Follow her at Twitter.com/heathersomervil.