The family-owned Dunkin’ Donuts, which has been in Skokie for more than three decades, will soon have a larger building with driveways for cars and a covered outdoor patio.
It will require a new 3,700-square-foot Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin building project – more than double its current size – at 5150 Touhy Ave. Demolition of three individual homes along Jarlath Street behind the current building.
Skokie Village Council approved the site plan and private use permits for the project on July 5.
The board also voted 5-1 to change the division of the three homes from residential to commercial; Regent James Johnson voted “no” and Mayor George Van Dusen was absent.
The restaurant and three homes are owned by the Panjwani family, which owns a total of 13 Dunkin’ Donuts franchise locations, five in Skokie and the rest in the surrounding suburbs.
Rena Panjwani Khwaja, director of restaurant development for Panjwani Network, whose offices are in Skokie, said the family had bought the three homes on Garlath Street years ago, and rented them out to tenants in light of plans to expand the restaurant.
Dunkin’ expanded store on Touhy Avenue will have two car lanes, one for mobile orders; Three windows through the car digital kiosk in the store; And eight cold drinks on tap, including nitro and cold brew.
“Operationally it is much more efficient, so we can go really fast either at the front desk or through the car,” said Rena Panjwani Khwaja.
The Panjwani franchise business was started by her parents, Abdul “Ray” Panjwani and his wife Selma, who purchased their first Dunkin’ Donuts in 1986 in Evanston. The Banjos no longer own this store. They have owned Touhy Avenue since 1991.
Rina Benjwani Khwaja and her siblings, Seema Benjwani and Karim Benjwani, worked at Dunkin’ Donuts for the family during high school summer holidays, and now they run the business as well.
Penguans live in Glenview, with the exception of Sima Penjwani who lives in Chicago.
“It’s a great privilege,” said Rina Panjwani Khwaja. “It was really developed to meet the needs of customers.”
It’s a fun brand to work with,” her sister Seema Panjwani said. “We are always creating new products. We work with a lot of fun people and help support a lot of the families that work for us.”
The sisters said that the project was a major investment dictated by the needs of the clients.
“Our customers told us they wanted the car-to-car service and the convenience of offerings on the go,” said Rina Panjwani Khawaja.
Seema Panjwani said the look of the new franchise appeals to young people in particular, which is helpful at a time when companies are facing staff shortages. “High school students call us and tell us they just want to work in the new stores,” she said.
Pending final approval of permits by the village, the new store will be completed this year, or possibly in the first quarter of next year, they said.