Dairy Queen franchisee Pat Hartman was the first to test out the DQ Grill & Chill model.
A local business man has played an instrumental role in Dairy Queen’s® development and is one
reason why the corporation is looking to expand its reach and roll out new
restaurants throughout Illinois.
The DQ Grill and Chill® model is the vehicle for the expansion. About 1,600 restaurants in the United States follow the model and offer fast food along with the more traditional cold treats, according to the corporation.
Pat Hartman, who owns the DQ Grill & Chill at 2222 S. Perryville Road, and another in Loves Park on East Riverside, was the first franchisee to take on the new model in the early 2000s.
Hartman has owned Dairy Queen shops since the late '70s, so when the corporation decided to test out a new restaurant model they chose him to pioneer the new Grill & Chill concept in Rockford.
“I owned three (Dairy Queen locations) at the time and was looking to do something different,” Hartman said. “The test market is kind of a neat thing. Everything is brand new – the idea, the building, the equipment, everything.”
That kind of quick expansion was exactly what the company was looking for, said Dairy Queen Vice President of Operations Lon Brew.
“Pat and the other franchisees banded together to really elevate the market,” Brew said. “We’ve seen success from the very beginning and as a result, have been expanding throughout the country and we have gotten to where we are looking to expand in other areas and Illinois is one of them.”
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