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Ricky Jean Francois, owner of 30 Dunkin’ Donuts stores calls New England ‘Dunkin’ Donuts heaven’

As the advertisements say, New England runs on Dunkin’. After all, Massachusetts is one of just two states in the country that has more than 1,000 Dunkin’ Donuts.

So when the New England Patriots signed defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois, it was a natural fit.

Jean Francois currently owns 30 Dunkin’ Donuts franchises, and hopes to bring his total to 50 at some point. When he first arrived in New England after signing, he knew he came to the right place.

“As soon as I got off the airplane it was like every block I hit I saw a Dunkin’ Donuts,” Jean Francois said. “I must be in Dunkin’ Donuts heaven up here.”

Jean Francois first got involved in the business in 2014, when he sat down with some older teammates. They advised him to find something that could help him financially after his career ended, and he turned to Dunkin’ Donuts as a business opportunity.

He said he chose Dunkin’ because “everybody drinks coffee.” But why Dunkin’ over Starbucks?

“Have you seen the sales numbers? Just look at all the sales numbers and see who’s number one and then you’ll see why,” Jean Francois said.

He also likes the food. The 6-foot-3, 313-pound defensive tackle said his go-to order is simply a glazed donut. He has started to drink coffee as of late too, as he has an 18-month old son that has kept him awake.

Jean Francois says his stores are all along I-95 between Savannah, Ga. and Hilton Head, S.C. Considering the popularity of the restaurants in New England, he probably will not be buying any franchises up in New England.

“They’ve got enough already,” Jean Francois said. “I’d be shocked if I could get any type of territory up here. Somebody probably has got me beat. I’ve just got to figure out who it is and just learn their strategy and how they can get that many in just this one location.”

Now that he has joined the Patriots, some of Jean Francois’ business passion has worn off on his new teammates. As the Patriots prepare for a long road trip to Denver and then Mexico City, some players have already told Jean Francois that they want to sit down with him and discuss business ideas.

“It’s going to be an interesting trip,” Jean Francois said. “I’ll get to sit down and they get to pick my mind and I’ll get to pick theirs. They might have strategies to help get the business booming.”

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