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28. Dairy Queen

Last Year's Rank: 28

Investment Range: $500K to $1 Million

Category: Restaurant

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Company Description


Dairy Queen is an international chain of soft serve ice cream and fast food joints. Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett's holding company, purchased Dairy Queen in 1998. Dairy Queen also owns two other restaurant concepts, Orange Julius and KarmelKorn. In 2012, all Dairy Queen stores began selling Orange Julius drinks.

The Dairy Queen system has more than 6,600 restaurants in the United States, Canada, and 28 foreign countries. The company is 100 percent franchised.

The company has standard stores that serve both ice cream and hot food, alongside stores with an abbreviated menu, typically only open during the spring and summer.

In an effort to appeal to millenials and steer caffeine sales away from companies like McDonald’s and Starbuck’s, Dairy Queen added iced coffees and frappes to its menu in May 2016. 

Company Statistics


Global Sales: $4,444,362,000

US Units: 4,517

International Units: 2,324

Total Units: 6,841

Percent Franchised: 100%

% International Units: 34%

US Franchised Units: 4,515

International Franchised Units: 2,324

Sales Growth %: 3.4%

Unit Growth %: 1.2%

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