Every year, Technomic—a Chicago-based food industry consulting and research firm—ranks the top 500 restaurant chains that report impressive sales and significant growth. The most recent report named Dairy Queen the top key player in the limited service restaurant frozen dessert category. It also ranked DQ as one of the top five fastest-growing brands in the industry, while national competitors like Baskin-Robins and Cold Stone Creamery weren’t even mentioned.
“Being recognized by Technomic as the brand to beat when it comes to frozen desserts validates our innovation efforts. At Dairy Queen, we’re constantly looking for ways to take our wildly successful core menu to the next level,” said Mike Mettler, director of national franchise sales for Dairy Queen. “That’s why we’ve been able to stand out in such a crowded field for so many years.”
Dairy Queen doesn’t just stand out—it absolutely dominates the industry. The Technomic report shows that in 2015, DQ owned nearly 50 percent of the entire frozen desserts category. The brand reported $3,531,186 in U.S. sales, outperforming its closest competition—Baskin-Robins—by nearly $3 million. That’s a 10.1 percent increase from the year before.
“We’ve proven that no one comes close to matching the level of quality that Dairy Queen provides when it comes to frozen treats. Our strong brand recognition, which has led to fierce customer loyalty, now allows us to grow in other areas of the booming limited service restaurant industry,” said Barry Westrum, executive vice president of marketing at International Dairy Queen, Inc. “Just look at the DQ Grill & Chill® concept— as more locations successfully open their doors for business across the county, Dairy Queen will only to continue to expand its already impressive reach.”
The DQ Grill & Chill concept, which first launched in 2002, has been steadily picking up speed in the U.S. There are currently more than 1,560 DQ Grill & Chill restaurants across the country, meaning the concept makes up about 23 percent of the brand’s U.S. franchise system. The concept also offers more variety on its menu—core items include high quality burgers and chicken sandwiches along with new Artisan-style sandwiches, snack melts and of course, DQ’s signature frozen treats.
In 2016, Dairy Queen plans to add at least 85 new DQ Grill & Chill stores to its network, which will ultimately propel the brand’s growth in the years to come.
“The Technomic report puts us in a great position to further our expansion efforts and build on a strong burst of momentum. We have high expectations for what’s coming in the near future,” Mettler said. “We’re confident that Dairy Queen will only continue to distance itself from the competition in both the frozen dessert category and the limited service restaurant industry as a whole.”
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