The founders of the Dairy Queen® system were men and women who introduced a new kind of dessert treat and, in the process, developed the foundation of the franchising industry. The history of the DQ® system is a story of a unique product that created an industry.
A Story of Sweet Success
For more than 70 years, the DQ® system's recipe for success has been simple. It's been a combination of hardworking people who own and operate restaurants, and great-tasting food and tempting treats served in our establishments.
Our phenomenal story began with the 10-cent sale of a then unnamed product on August 4, 1938, in Kankakee, Illinois. A father and son partnership in Green River, Illinois, had been experimenting with a soft frozen dairy product for some time. They contacted Sherb Noble, a good friend and customer, who agreed to run the "all you can eat" trial sale at his walk-in ice cream store. Within two hours, he dished out more than 1,600 servings of the new dessert.
Back then, food franchising was all but unheard of, but the new product's potential made it a natural for such a system. When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, there were fewer than 10 Dairy Queen® stores. However, shortly after the war, the system took off at a pace virtually unrivaled before or since. With only 100 stores in 1947, it grew to 1,446 in 1950 and then to 2,600 in 1955. Today, the DQ® system is one of the largest fast food systems in the world, with more than 6,000 restaurants in the United States, Canada and 18 other countries.
Although much has changed in the world and in the DQ® system through the years, one constant has remained: DQ® restaurants are still, and always have been, the place to find kids' sports teams celebrating a victory, business people on their lunch break and families taking time out to enjoy great food and soft serve treats. And success for the DQ® system is as simple today as it was in 1940. Satisfied customers lead to successful restaurants. Each owner of our independently owned and operated establishments worldwide is committed to nothing less than the "Fan Food not Fast FoodTM" slogan.
Children's Miracle Network
Dairy Queen® loves kids. Whether its kids' sports teams celebrating at our restaurants after games, children enjoying dinner with their parents or teenagers visiting for cool treats at the end of a date, DQ® and kids go hand in hand. And if these cherished youngsters ever become sick or injured, we want to ensure they have the best medical care available.
That's why Dairy Queen has been a proud national sponsor of Children's Miracle Network® since 1984. During the past 30 years, DQ operators throughout Canada and the United States have raised more than $100 million for Children’s Miracle Network.
From collecting customers' pocket change to selling paper Miracle Balloons and holding special campaigns like Lindsey’s Cakes for Miracles™ and Miracle Treat Day, our support enables us to give something back to the communities in which we do business.
Children's Miracle Network is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to generating funds and awareness programs to benefit kids treated at 170 children's hospitals throughout North America. Children’s Miracle Network raises funds through innovative cause-marketing promotions and other programs developed to meet the business objectives of its sponsors. Children’s Miracle Network's hallmark is that 100 percent of locally generated donations stay in the community to benefit kids treated at their local Children’s Miracle Network member hospital.
Children’s Miracle Network member hospitals represent the premier pediatric healthcare facilities in their respective communities, treating children of all afflictions, including cancer, birth defects, accidents and muscular and cardiovascular diseases. These facilities treat more than 17 million kids each year.
DQ and Children's Miracle Network are a perfect fit.
Local Community Partnerships
Note: Due to the fact that our locations are individually owned and operated, these programs are at the discretion of the operator. Contact your local DQ® restaurant for specific details.
To encourage students to continually strive for excellence, Dairy Queen® operators often establish reward initiatives featuring free hot food or soft-serve products. A few such efforts, which can run on either a quarter or semester basis, include:
Dairy Queen® Restaurant Tours
Schools are always looking for educational field trip ideas. Many DQ® operators offer tours of their restaurant to kids in grades 1-4. Students who visit learn how the facility operates and the importance of cleanliness and hard work. They receive a guided tour through each area of the restaurant and the machinery is usually explained in language they can easily understand. At the end of the tour, each student learns how to make their own DQ® cone, and then enjoy eating it.
Dairy Queen® operators don't forget about the older kids in their area. Recognizing that high school and college students are typically low on cash, they often provide discount cards or create affordable Student Meal Deals.
Upon request, many Dairy Queen® operators often provide frozen cakes or other products for school activities. Whether it's a class project, high school prom or graduation party, we are happy to help make any student event more special.
What's Happening in Your Community?
The aforementioned ideas are just a few of the many programs Dairy Queen® operators implement to partner with local schools and colleges. Contact your local Dairy Queen® operator regarding any of their existing school programs or to discuss potential partnership opportunities.
Dairy Queen® restaurants are franchised by American Dairy Queen Corporation, a Berkshire Hathaway company (NYSE: BRK.A and BRK.B). Restaurants in Canada are franchised through Dairy Queen Canada International Dairy Queen Inc., (IDQ), based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the parent company of American Dairy Queen Corporation (ADQ), Orange Julius of America (OJA), Dairy Queen Canada (DQX) and Unified Supply Chain, Inc (USC). Through its subsidiaries, IDQ develops, licenses and services a system of more than 6,800 locations in the United States, Canada and more than 25 other countries. IDQ is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. For more information visit DairyQueen.com or follow the Dairy Queen® brand on social media @DairyQueen