Dairy Queen’s history of Sweet Success

Dairy Queen is an international chain of soft-serve ice cream and fast-food joints. Beginning in 1938 in Kankakee, Illinois, and is now headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota. Their mission is to create positive memories for all who touch Dairy Queen.

The secret to the Dairy Queen® brand’s success has always been simple. Their recipe combines hardworking individuals and great-tasting food that’s served in a welcoming environment. What began as the 10-cent sale of an unknown frozen treat in 1938 quickly boomed into one of the most well-known soft serve/frozen treat companies of all time. Food franchising had yet to exist, but the Dairy Queen® product’s rapid-growth potential made the process a piece of cake. Today, there are more than 6,800 restaurants in the United States, Canada, and 27 other countries.

Dairy Queen Story

  • 1940: First Dairy Queen® restaurant opens in Joliet, Illinois.
  • 1949: Malts and shakes debut.
  • 1951: Banana splits appear on the menu.
  • 1953: First Dairy Queen restaurant opens in Canada.
  • 1955: The Dilly® Bar debuts.
  • 1957: The Dairy Queen Brazier® concept is introduced.
  • 1959: First Dairy Queen restaurant opens in Panama.
  • 1962: International Dairy Queen, Inc. (IDQ) is formed.
  • 1968: The Buster Bar® Treat appears on the menu.
  • 1971: Peanut Buster® Parfait debuts on the menu.
  • 1979: First Dairy Queen restaurant opens in the Middle East.
  • 1984: Partnership with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Children’s Miracle Network begins.
  • 1985: Blizzard® Treats are introduced.
  • 1988: IDQ purchases Orange Julius® Brand
  • 1991: First Dairy Queen restaurant opens in Mexico.
  • 1992: First Dairy Queen restaurant opens in China.
  • 1995: DQ Treatzza Pizza® and Chicken Strip Basket debut.
  • 1998: IDQ acquired by Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.
  • 2003: The Blizzard of the Month program kicks off.
  • 2005: GrillBurgers are introduced.
  • 2006: First Miracle Treat Day in Canada and the U.S.
  • 2010: Mini Blizzard Treats are introduced.
  • 2015: The DQ system celebrates its 75th Fanniversary.
  • 2018: DQ mobile app launches.
  • 2019: First DQ restaurant with the Next Gen design opens.
  • 2020: The Non-Dairy Dilly® Bar debuts.

International Dairy Queen Inc., (IDQ), based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the parent company of American Dairy Queen Corporation and Dairy Queen Canada, Inc. Through its subsidiaries, IDQ develops, licenses and services a system of more than 7,000 locations in the United States, Canada and more than 20 other countries. IDQ is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which is led by Warren Buffett, the legendary investor and CEO of Berkshire.

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