45 Dairy Queen Facts: A Fast Food Restaurant Chain!

Akshita Rana
Nov 08, 2022 By Akshita Rana
Originally Published on Apr 17, 2022
Edited by Rhea Nischal
Read some fascinating Dairy Queen facts here at Kidadl!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

We bet you must have relished DQ's soft-serve cone at least once in your lifetime!

Dairy Queen is a fast-food restaurant chain that was founded in 1940. It is known for its soft-serve ice cream, blizzards, and chicken strips.

The American fast-food chain Dairy Queen has a rich history that spans more than 75 years, and today, DQ restaurants are established all over the country and in other nations as well. Read on to learn about the history of Dairy Queen and how it became the popular chain that it is today.

Foundation Of Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen is a famous American soft-serve ice cream and fast-food chain that has a rich history spanning more than 75 years.

John Fremont McCullough and Alex McCullough invented DQ's soft-serve ice cream formula in 1938. They tested the audience's response to their new creation by selling it in an Illinois-based ice cream store.

On the very first day, over 1,600 soft-serve ice creams were sold in just two hours of their arrival at the Illinois store.

The McCulloughs and Sherb Noble, the owner of the Illinois-based store where soft-serve ice cream was initially served, created the Dairy Queen. The first store of Dairy Queen opened in Joliet, Illinois in 1940. The first Dairy Queen store is no longer operational.

The company got its name when its c-founder and co-owner, John Fremont McCullough, described the staple dessert of the brand as 'a queen among all dairy products.'

Originally, the logo of Dairy Queen was a simple, stylized font sign in black and white. In the '50s, the famous red ellipse-shaped sign was added, and the color of the text was changed to white.

The original Dairy Queen logo and its other successive designs are still used in several locations.

In the '60s, the character of 'Little Miss Dairy Queen' started appearing in Pennsylvania, wearing a blue dress, white apron, and wooden shoes. She also wore a Dutch bonnet that looked like the ellipse present in the logo of Dairy Queen.

In 1961, Dairy Queen launched its Brazier program and started serving hot dogs, burgers, and fries.

In 1962, Dairy Queen changed its name to International Dairy Queen, Inc. (IDQ).

In 1977, International Dairy Queen became a public limited company.

The signature frozen treat of Dairy Queen, named 'Blizzard' was introduced in 1985 and has been a staple dish on its menu ever since. The first blizzard was the Blizzard Flavor Treat.

Before the introduction of this ice cream, Dairy Queen served thick milkshakes under the same name. Like the Blizzard ice cream, the Blizzard milkshake also did not spill when held upside down.

In 1998, Warren Buffett acquired International Dairy Queen, Inc., and hence, it became a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.

The letters 'DQ' that are now present on the logo of Dairy Queen became the official name of the company in 2001.

In 2007, Dairy Queen modernized its logo to its present form. Today, the Dairy Queen logo consists of a red ellipse design with the letters DQ in italics and in white color.

There are two arched lines on the top and bottom of the red ellipse. The one at the top is orange, representing hot food items, while the one at the bottom is blue, symbolizing ice cream.

In 2005, a Blizzard produced by a Dairy Queen store in Massachusetts entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest soft-serve dessert in the world. The Blizzard stood at a whopping height of 22 ft (6.7 m).

In 2011, Dairy Queen broke another record, this time for the world's largest ice cream cake!

On the 25th anniversary of Blizzard, Dairy Queen's mobile truck distributed free ice cream blizzards in many American and Canadian cities.

The recipe for the soft serve products of Dairy Queen is a safe deposit box with only a few keys available to unlock it.

Product Line Of Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen’s menu features a variety of items, including soft serve ice cream, blizzards, sundaes, milkshakes, and other frozen treats. Here is a list of everything you can find at a DQ store. 

The signature dessert of Dairy Queen is its frozen treat of soft-serve ice cream, named Blizzard. The Blizzards are a delightful mixture of several ingredients, like sundae toppings, pieces of candy, cookies, and brownies.

DQ's most famous dessert was named Blizzard because it was so cold that even if you hold it upside down, it won't spill.

There is a company policy that DQ employees have to flip at least one Blizzard upside down for every order. If, for some reason, a DQ employee is unable to do so, you can get a free Blizzard on your next visit.

The most popular flavors of Blizzards are Oreo cookies, chocolate chip cookie dough, Reese's peanut butter, butter finger, mint Oreo, M&M's, green tea blizzard, and health bar. You can also find special flavors like pumpkin pie and cotton candy during the holiday season.

In 2010, Dairy Queen launched a mini size of its soft-serve ice cream, Blizzard.

On the 25th anniversary of the popular soft serve ice cream, two additional flavors of Blizzard were introduced. These flavors were Buster Bar and Strawberry Golden Oreo.

On the 30th anniversary of Blizzard, the Salter Caramel Truffle flavor was launched. However, it is not available anymore.

While we refer to Blizzard as ice cream, DQ clarified that it is actually not a real ice cream since it does not meet the basic requirement of 10% butterfat to be classified as ice cream. It contains only 5% fat.

Dairy Queen also offers ice cream cakes known as Blizzard cakes in several flavors, like Reese's and Oreo.

In addition to Blizzards, Dairy Queens all over the world offered frozen yogurt named Breeze until 2001, when the product line was dismantled.

At present, besides Blizzard ice cream, you can find malts, thick milkshakes, banana splits, slush treats, hamburgers, chicken strips, fries, sundaes, hot dogs, and blended coffee at Dairy Queen stores.

Dairy Queen has trademarked its curly top ice cream swirls. Apparently, the shape resembles the letter 'Q.'

In Texas, DQ employees also serve salads, tacos, and nachos.

Some DQ stores also offer beef and pork sandwiches.

Besides Blizzards, Dairy Queen also serves malts and milkshakes.

Expansion Plans Of Dairy Queen

From its first location in Joliet, Illinois, Dairy Queen has expanded all over the globe. Here are a few facts that can help you understand how Dairy Queen grew exponentially in a considerably short period of time.

Since its founding, Dairy Queen has worked on a franchise-based system to expand globally.

Within a span of seven years from 1941-1947, the number of DQ stores increased by ten to a hundred globally. By 1950, the number reached 1,446.

In Canada, Dairy Queen opened its first store in 1953.

Texas has the largest number of DQ stores in the United States.

In the '90s, seeing the profitability of the DQ system, a large number of investors started buying individually-owned DQ stores.

In 2014, Dairy Queen had more than 6,400 DQ stores in more than 25 nations. Around 70% of the total DQ stores are located in the United States.

The largest DQ store in the United States is in the Bloomington district of Illinois.

The world's largest DQ store is in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The DQ store that attracts the highest number of customers is in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

A critical acquisition that further helped Dairy Queen to expand its menu and its franchise was that of Orange Julius in 1987. Since it acquired Orange Julius, Dairy Queen has started serving the offerings of the company on its menu.

Dairy Queen also acquired the popcorn chain Karmelkorn.

Dairy Queen applied the Treat Center concept by acquiring Orange Julius and Karmelkorn to expand in small-scale areas and in the food courts of shopping malls.

In 2001, Dairy Queen launched its first Grill & Chill restaurant with a bigger menu.

In the United States, most Dairy Queen stores remain open from 10 a.m. to 9.30 p.m.

Family Orientation Of Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen has been a family favorite since it first opened its doors in 1940.

Dairy Queen also offers a variety of Dairy Queen cakes for special occasions, so you can always celebrate your family’s milestones at Dairy Queen.

Dairy Queen offers a family meal deal including chicken strips, fries, and dilly bars.

Some former DQ employees who are now big names are Greg Spence, Gwen Stefani, Eric Stefani, and Bonnie Hunt.

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Written by Akshita Rana

Bachelor of Business Administration, Master of Science specializing in Management

Akshita Rana picture

Akshita RanaBachelor of Business Administration, Master of Science specializing in Management

With a Master's in Management from the University of Manchester and a degree in Business Management from St. Xavier's, Jaipur, India, Akshita has worked as a content writer in the education sector. She previously collaborated with a school and an education company to improve their content, showcasing her skills in writing and education. Akshita is multilingual and enjoys photography, poetry, and art in her free time, which allows her to bring a creative touch to her work as a writer at Kidadl.

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