Dairy Queen

2015 Franchise 500
At a Glance

Products & Services: Ice cream, burgers, chicken

Number of Locations: 6,531

Total Investment: $356.5K - $1.8M

Founded: 1940

Began Franchising: 1944

About Dairy Queen

Ice cream manufacturer J.F. McCullough was experimenting with a recipe for a new frozen dairy product, stemming from his belief that ice cream tasted better when it was soft and served fresh from the freezer, not frozen solid. With his recipe perfected, McCullough and his son, Alex, convinced one of their customers to hold an introductory sale of the new soft ice cream, and more than 1,600 people showed up to try it. Based on that initial success, the McCulloughs opened the first Dairy Queen location in 1940 in Joliet, Illinois. The first stores sold only soft-serve ice cream--in sundaes, take-home pints and quarts, and cones--but over the years, a variety of ice cream treats were added to the menu, such as banana splits and Dilly Bars. In the 1950s, some Dairy Queens began serving hot food items. Today, stores system wide have menus that include hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken strips through Dairy Queen's Grill & Chill concept. The company also offers a DQ Treat concept that offers both Dairy Queen's frozen treats and the sister company's fruit drinks and smoothies.

Franchise Units

Year U.S. Canadian International Company Owned
2015 4,437 620 1,472 2
2014 4,442 612 1,331 3
2013 4,455 602 1,171 3
2012 4,548 646 1,019 3
2011 4,498 590 857 3
Where Seeking Franchisees: Franchisor is seeking new franchise units worldwide.

Startup Costs, Ongoing Fees and Financing

Total Investment: $356,450 - $1,833,125
Franchise Fee: $25,000 - $35,000
Ongoing Royalty Fee: 4-5%
Term of Franchise Agreement: 20 years, renewable
Financial Requirements
Net Worth: $750,000
Liquid Cash Available: $400,000
Number of employees needed to run franchised unit: 20 - 100. Absentee ownership of franchise is allowed..
Financing Type In-House Third Party
Franchise Fee
Startup Costs
Accounts Receivable

How This Franchise Supports Franchisees

Training: Available at headquarters: 3 weeks. At franchisee's location: Pre- & post-opening. At existing DQ store : 2 weeks.
Ongoing Support: Newsletter, Meetings, Toll-free phone line, Grand opening, Field operations/evaluations, Purchasing cooperatives
Marketing Support: Co-op advertising, Ad slicks, National media, Regional advertising,
Other marketing support: Local promotions program

Franchise Ranking History

Franchise 500®: #56 (2015), #58 (2014), #45 (2013), #23 (2012), #34 (2011),
Fastest-Growing: #39 (2012),
America's Top Global: #29 (2015), #12 (2014), #18 (2013), #20 (2012), #32 (2011),

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