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2021 Franchise 500 Rank
#42 Ranked #16 last year
See the Full List
Initial investment
$1.1M - $1.9M
Units as of 2021
7,060 2.9% over 3 years

Company Overview

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.

About Dairy Queen

Industry
Food
Related Categories
Ice Cream, Ices
Founded
1940
Parent Company
IDQ Inc.
Leadership
Troy Bader, CEO

Franchising Overview

Franchising Since
1940 (81 years)
# of employees at HQ
411
# of Units
7,060 (as of 2021)

Franchisor Information

Corporate Address
8000 Tower, #700, 8331 Norman Center Dr.
Bloomington, MN 55437

Information for Franchisees

Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in opening a Dairy Queen franchise.

Financial Requirements & Ongoing Fees

Here’s what you can expect to spend to start the business and what ongoing fees the franchisor charges throughout the life of the business.

Initial Franchise Fee
$45,000
Initial Investment
$1,101,135 - $1,856,655
Net Worth Requirement
$750,000
Cash Requirement
$400,000
Royalty Fee
4%
Ad Royalty Fee
5-6%
Term of Agreement
20 years
Is franchise term renewable?
Yes

Financing Options

Some franchisors offer in-house financing, while others have relationships with third-party financing sources to which they refer qualified franchisees.

Third Party Financing
Dairy Queen has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: franchise fee, startup costs, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, payroll

Training & Support Offered

Franchisors offer initial training programs and a variety of ongoing support options to help franchisees run their businesses.

On-The-Job Training
245 hours
Classroom Training
32 hours
Additional Training
At existing DQ store
Ongoing Support
Purchasing Co-ops
Newsletter
Meetings & Conventions
Toll-Free Line
Grand Opening
Online Support
Security & Safety Procedures
Field Operations
Site Selection
Franchisee Intranet Platform
Marketing Support
Ad Templates
National Media
Regional Advertising
Marketing Planning & Support
Social Media
Email Marketing
Loyalty Program/App

Operations

Additional details about running this franchise.

Is absentee ownership allowed?
Yes
Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit?
No
Can this franchise be run part time?
No
# of employees required to run
20-100
Are exclusive territories available?
No

Franchise 500 Ranking History

Compare where Dairy Queen landed on this year’s Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.

Additional Rankings

Curious to know where Dairy Queen ranked on other franchise lists? Find out below.

Ranked #42

Franchise 500 Ranking

Ranked #6

Top Global Franchises

Ranked #2 in Ice Cream

Top Food Franchises

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Disclaimer
The information on this page is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation of any particular franchise by Entrepreneur Media. Our franchise listings and rankings are solely research tools you can use to compare franchise operations. Entrepreneur stresses that you should always conduct your own independent investigation before investing in a franchise. That should include reviewing the franchisor's legal documents, consulting with an attorney and an accountant, and talking to former and current franchisees.
Updated: February 8th, 2021