Dunkin’ Brands, parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, is extending its deal with mobile app maker CardFree to increase its efforts to close the mobile coffee-sales gap with its rival, Starbucks.

Dunkin’ reports having nearly 9 million members in its DD Perks Rewards Program and 18 million app downloads, which is up from 2015 when it had just 3.6 million rewards members and 15 million downloads. However, Starbucks announced Thursday in its third-quarter earnings release that it added 1.9 million active U.S. rewards members for the quarter, totaling 15.1 million active, and that its U.S. rewards members now represent 40% of its U.S. company-operated sales.

In light of this competitive market, Dunkin’ has doubled down on its relationship with CardFree by signing a multi-year deal to secure a perpetual license to the software used to build and operate its mobile ordering and payment platform for Dunkin’ Donuts U.S.

The deal provides Dunkin’ with greater control in how the technology is operated, a perpetual license to the code and will provide greater support for its future digital initiatives including catering, delivery and curbside pick-up.

The contract is, ironically, a vote of confidence for the team behind the original Starbucks Card app. Those developers launched CardFree in 2012, and signed Dunkin Donuts as a client in 2015. Dunkin previously worked with CorFire, whose former chief marketing officer, Jon Squire, became CardFree's CEO.

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