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- 2022 Franchise 500 Rank
#41 Ranked #42 last year
- Initial investment
$1.5M - $2.4M
- Units as of 2022
7,188 2.1% over 3 years
Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in opening a Dairy Queen franchise.
From soft-serve chills to mouth-watering grills, Dairy Queen strives to satisfy customer cravings whether they're hot or cold. With over 80 years of experience delivering tasty treats in over 6,500 stores worldwide, Dairy Queen offers customers delectable food in a modern, comfortable dining experience.
Although Dairy Queen began exclusively serving frozen treats, many 21st century Dairy Queen restaurants continue delivering their ice cream specialty along with more selections of grill menu items. Providing everything from flavorful blizzard creations to ice cream cakes for any occasion to milkshakes and cheeseburgers, Dairy Queen is many diners' one-stop-shop to eat like royalty.
Why You May Want to Start a Dairy Queen Franchise
If you love delicious food and tasty frozen treats, then you may want to consider becoming a Dairy Queen franchisee. Aiming to put a smile on faces and give customers a story to share, being a Dairy Queen franchisee means having a passion for satisfying customers' cravings. If you feel like sharing the joy, you may want to consider joining fast-food royalty and becoming a Dairy Queen franchisee.
With such a stellar customer reputation, Dairy Queen has been ranked in Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 many times since its inception. This ranking is based on an evaluation of more than 150 data points in the areas of costs and fees, size and growth, franchisee support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability.
What Might Make a Dairy Queen Franchise a Good Choice?
Opening a Dairy Queen franchise may offer a more predictable outcome than investing in a completely new brand that could struggle to thrive in an already crowded and competitive industry.
To be part of the Dairy Queen team, you should make sure you're financially ready for an initial investment made up of a franchise fee and other startup costs. In addition, you should prepare yourself for ongoing fees that will include advertising, royalty, and potential renewal fees. Franchisees will also need to meet the company's set net worth and liquid capital requirements.
How To Open a Dairy Queen Franchise
Before making any financial commitment or signing an agreement, you must perform your due diligence and establish if this is the right opportunity for you. As part of your due diligence, you may want to speak to existing franchisees and ask the Dairy Queen franchising team questions.
Franchisees ready to take the first steps to opening their own Dairy Queen franchise will need to inquire about a franchise opportunity before studying the company's franchise system. After submitting an application and upon approval, franchisees will begin training with Dairy Queen's franchise support team, who will assist you with your store's design, construction, and staffing.
A typical franchise agreement runs for 20 years. Franchisees may be allowed to renew their agreement if they meet the Dairy Queen requirements. Once your store is constructed, staffed, and has opened its doors for business, you'll be ready and able to satisfy your community’s cravings for sweet treats, burgers, fries, and chicken.
About Dairy Queen
- Franchising Since
- 1940 (82 years)
- # of employees at HQ
- Where seeking
This company is seeking new franchisees throughout the US.
This company is seeking new franchisees in the following international regions: Asia, Middle East, Central America, Canada, South America, Mexico
- # of Units
- 7,188 (as of 2022)
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
Definition: The initial fee paid to a franchisor to join their system
What you need to know: Found in Item 5 of the FDD, this may be a flat fee, or may vary based on territory size, experience, or other factors.The franchise fee is an up-front (one-time) cost that a new franchisee pays to the franchisor. This fee is usually due at the signing of the franchise agreement and covers the right to use the franchisor's trademarks, name, and related business systems.
- Initial Investment
- $1,461,000 - $2,427,000
Definition: The total amount necessary to begin operation of the franchise
What you need to know: The initial investment includes the franchise fee, along with other startup expenses such as real estate, equipment, supplies, business licenses, and working capital. This is outlined in a chart in Item 7 of the FDD, showing a range of possible costs from low to high.
- Net Worth Requirement
Definition: The minimum net worth you must have in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company
What you need to know: Net worth is the value of a person's assets minus liabilities. Assets include cash, stocks, retirement accounts, and real estate. Liabilities include items like mortgages, car payments, and credit card debt.
- Cash Requirement
Definition: The minimum liquid capital you must have available in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company.
- Royalty Fee
Definition: A ongoing fee paid to the franchisor on a regular basis.
What you need to know: Most franchisors require franchisees to pay an ongoing royalty fee, which is detailed in Item 6 of the FDD. This fee is typically a percentage of weekly or monthly gross sales, but may also be a flat weekly, monthly, or annual fee.
- Ad Royalty Fee
Definition: An going fee paid to the franchisor on a regular basis to support advertising or marketing efforts.
What you need to know: This may also be called advertising fee, marketing fee, brand fund fee, and more, but the basic purpose is the same-- to support promotion of the brand systemwide. As with the royalty fee, it is detailed in Item 6 of the FDD, and can be a percentage of weekly or monthly gross sales or a weekly, monthly, or annual fee.
- Term of Agreement
- 20 years
Definition: The length of time your franchise agreement will last.
What you need to know: Franchise terms are typically anywhere from 5 to 20 years in length, but are sometimes instead dependent on factors such as the term of your lease. Once your term is up, you may have the option to renew your agreement, typically for a smaller fee than the original franchise fee.
- Is franchise term renewable?
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-opsNewsletterMeetings & ConventionsToll-Free LineGrand OpeningOnline SupportSecurity & Safety ProceduresField OperationsSite SelectionFranchisee Intranet Platform
- Marketing Support
Ad TemplatesNational MediaRegional AdvertisingMarketing Planning & SupportSocial MediaEmail MarketingLoyalty Program/App
Additional details about running this franchise.
- Is absentee ownership allowed?
Definition: Absentee ownership means that the franchisee does not actively work in the franchise business or manage day-to-day operations.
- Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit?
Definition: The business can be run from your home and/or a vehicle, and it is not necessary to have a retail facility, office space, or warehouse.
- Can this franchise be run part time?
Definition: This business can be run by the owner on a part-time basis (less than 40 hours per week) and/or as a side business; it is not necessary for the business to be open/run full-time.
- # of employees required to run
- Are exclusive territories available?
Definition: An exclusive territory is a fixed area in which you are given the right to operate and in which no other units of the same franchise may be opened.
What you need to know: Territory size may be based on factors such as radius, population size, zip codes, and more. Details can be found in Item 12 of the FDD.
Interested in franchise ownership like Dairy Queen? Request a free consultation with a Franchise Advisor now.
Franchise 500 Ranking History
Compare where Dairy Queen landed on this year’s Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.
Curious to know where Dairy Queen ranked on other franchise lists? Find out below.
Are you eager to see what else is out there? Browse more franchises that are similar to Dairy Queen.
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