The author examines Dunkin's new interior concept.

Sure, it’s not The Capital Grille or Nobu, but Starbucks has increasingly become an acceptable meeting place to discuss business. If you’re not hitting it at peak hours (in certain locations), it’s a relatively quiet and sophisticated venue to have a business discussion. And it has caffeine.

Dunkin’ Donuts also has caffeine, but asking a client to meet you there for a chat would be akin to asking them to join you at Wendy’s. Both places do what they are supposed to do, but plastic chairs, screaming kids and drunks looking for a free bathroom probably don’t supply the ambiance you’re trying to accomplish.

Well, Dunkin’ Donuts is trying to put itself on your list for those quick business visits.

It is revamping some of its locations by modernizing the interior with new furniture and lighting, electrical outlets so people can plug in and flat-screen TVs. You can see the new designs here.

One, in fact, just opened near’s headquarters in Manhattan’s Financial District (by a Starbucks, of course). We paid a recent visit, and there is definitely a different feel in the front of the restaurant than you would find at a typical Dunkin’. It has a few puffy chairs (in the chain’s customary orange and brown) surrounding a table and bar counters around the front-end’s windows. No flat-screen in this location. The ordering area, though, seems pretty much the same as your typical Dunkin’. But this is Manhattan, where space doesn’t come cheap, so this version of the concept might not be typical of what most of the country is going to see. It is definitely a change. As warm as Starbucks? Probably not, if you want to refer to the interiors of the Seattle-based chain that way.

As far as coffee tastes go, Dunkin’ certainly has its share of fans that prefer it over its fancier rival. Maybe a different kind of venue will excite that group, which ends up at Starbucks for the ambiance for a particular meeting but then has to choke down their beverage.

With the explosive growth of Dunkin’s store count — the company expects to open up to 500 new units this year — we are sure to see more of these pop up.

Do you think revamped Dunkin’ stores could take away some Starbucks customers?

Have you seen the new stores? If so, what do you think?