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Dairy Queen's Impressive Growth Streak


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For a brand that’s nearly 80 years old, Minneapolis-based Dairy Queen is growing at a snappy clip, exceeding many of its QSR competitors. As part of the lead-up to brand owner Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, DQ provided a quick update of its recent progress. The numbers are impressive, and not just for a brand that’s as old as Tina Turner, Chuck Norris and Sir Ian McKellen.

Last year Dairy Queen added 318 new locations across the globe. 2016 also happened to be the year DQ sold the most DQ Grill & Chill locations (its QSR concept) in any single year. That Grill & Chill concept has allowed the brand to increase its fan base with the attraction of meal offerings beyond the classic ice cream treats, cakes and bars.

In total, 82 new locations opened in the U.S. in 2016, and nearly all of them were the Grill & Chill models. Twenty-nine states saw new locations open last year, and markets such as Little Rock, Arkansas, Staten Island, New York, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Charleston, South Carolina, got their first-ever DQ locations.

During Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting that’s famous for Warren Buffet wandering around with a Blizzard in hand, Dairy Queen CEO John Gainor will discuss the advancements the brand is making as it continues to ramp up its food offerings to bolster its already solid frozen treats business.

If it wasn’t for my unfortunate and un-fun lactose intolerance, there would probably be a Blizzard in my future later today on my road trip back home to my parents’ house for the weekend. Which brings up a very important point: Where are my dairy-free alternatives? I’ve got some weekend fun money sitting right here in my pocket, and it could be theirs with some innovation. I'm hearing us dairy-free people are the demographic of the future. 

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is associate editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is staff writer at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
 twitter.com/mlarson1011.
 
Nancy WeingartnerNancy Weingartner is editor-at-large of Franchise Times magazine and the editor of the Food On Demand media project. You can reach her at 612-767-3200 or at nancyw@franchisetimes.com.
Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nanweingartner.
 

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