10 Things You Didn’t Know About Dairy Queen

The home of the Blizzard has loyal followers around the globe

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Dairy Queen


Dairy Queen is one of those chains that’s impossible to dislike. The chain that put not only soft-serve ice cream but also the legendary Blizzard on the map has thousands of locations across the globe, and new openings are still treated as special occasions. But even if you’ve got your perfect Blizzard order down pat, we bet that there are still some things you didn’t know about this legendary chain. 

The Founders Also Invented Soft Serve

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The concept of soft serve was developed in 1938 by John Fremont McCullough and his son Bradley. They partnered with ice cream shop owner Sheb Noble to open the first Dairy Queen in Joliet, Illinois, in 1940.

The First Location Is a City-Designated Landmark

Even though it hasn’t been a Dairy Queen since the 1950s, the first location, at 501 North Chicago Street in Joliet, is landmarked. 

It Was a Pioneer of Franchising

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Not many restaurants were selling franchise rights in the 1940s, but Dairy Queen used that strategy to expand from 10 stores in 1941 to 100 stores in 1947 and 1,600 by 1955. 

Dairy Queen Owns Orange Julius

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Dairy Queen purchased the chain, best known for its namesake orange-flavored drink, in 1987. Many locations now also offer Orange Julius items

The Blizzard Was Inspired by a St. Louis Shop

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Ted Drewes is a famous frozen custard shop located in Route 66 in St. Louis, a local landmark since the 1930s. The shop is best known for its concretes, in which frozen custard is blended with any of dozens of ingredients. DQ took its inspiration from this legendary creation, as did Shake Shack, who calls their creations concretes in homage.

A Healthier Blizzard Bombed

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Dairy Queen rolled out the Breeze, a healthier take on the famous Blizzard, in 1990. Made using frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, it was discontinued in 2000 because sales were so sluggish that the frozen yogurt was spoiling before it could be used. 

Texas Has More Dairy Queen Locations Than Any Other State

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There are more than 600 locations in the Lone Star State.

America’s Largest Dairy Queen Is in Bloomington, Illinois

The 5,000-square-foot restaurant boasts a 140-seat dining room, three fireplaces, flat-screen televisions, and a patio that seats an additional 40 guests. The largest Dairy Queen in the world, however, is located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

There Are Locations in 31 Countries

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Dairy Queen is one of America’s leading restaurant exports, with locations in countries including not just Saudi Arabia but Qatar, Kuwait, Gabon, Guyana, Cyprus, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Macau, and Taiwan.

It’s a Subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway

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Warren Buffett’s conglomerate purchased Dairy Queen in 1998. Would that make Buffett the Dairy King?