Dairy Queen® restaurants are franchised by ADQ, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Dairy Queen, Inc. (IDQ). IDQ is owned by Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: NRK.A and BRK.B) and there are currently more than 6,700 locations in 30 countries worldwide. The DQ Grill & Chill® concept now makes up about 23 percent of the U.S. franchise system and boasts more variety on its menu, with dozens of core items including a variety of burgers and chicken sandwiches, alongside the heritage treat side of the business.
Franchise Fee: $35,000
Royalty Fee: 4%
Investment Range: $1,077,225 to $1,833,125 (DQ Grill & Chill)
Liquid Capital Requirement: $400,000
Net Worth Requirement: $750,000
The typical DQ Grill & Chill® restaurant showcases a modern, warm design reminiscent of your family room, complete with a fireplace and flat screen TVs. The dining room offers the look of a high-scale restaurant with dark colors and stacked stone, and guests can see the kitchen from the counter, where hot and delicious food items are prepared. A dedicated frozen treat section features a freezer near the counter, positioned as a comforting backdrop to the restaurant and includes DQ® Cakes and Dilly® Bars that all fans of the brand will recognize. A DQ Grill & Chill restaurant can also be developed in strip center end-caps, dual-use buildings, travel centers, street-front locations and other venues.
The typical DQ Grill & Chill® restaurant is a freestanding facility and approximately 1,886-2,612 sq ft. A DQ Grill & Chill® restaurant can also be developed in strip center end-caps, dual-use buildings, travel centers, street-front locations and other venues.
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The Dairy Queen system has been a part of Matt Frauenshuh’s life long before he became the brand’s largest franchisee.
Growing up, Frauenshuh’s family worked with International Dairy Queen, Inc., to help develop real estate for the company’s corporate office and former regional offices. When the DQ Grill & Chill® concept made its debut back in 2002, the brand’s leadership team asked the Frauenshuh family to be one of the first owners of the new type of restaurant.
That same year, his family opened three DQ Grill & Chill locations. Still in college at the time, Frauenshuh helped out by working as a manager. But when he graduated from college, Frauenshuh decided it was time to take on an even larger role with the company. In 2006, he took over seven locations from his father, helping to grow the brand through his newfound development group—Fourteen Foods. By 2008, he had acquired 33 restaurants and an additional 60 in 2010. Under Frauenshuh’s leadership, Fourteen Foods now owns 180 restaurants in 10 states, with locations in Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida.
Today, at 34-years-old, Frauenshuh has made the Dairy Queen system an important part of his life and one of his deepest passions. Aside from having a strong family connection to the brand, it’s the brand’s customers that Frauenshuh has come to appreciate the most.
“For me, it’s all about having a lasting and meaningful impact on a community. We can do that with the Dairy Queen brand. We become the center of activity—a hub where people can come together, catch up and share in life’s everyday moments,” Frauenshuh said. “I’m looking forward to bringing that experience to even more people in the years to come.”
Q&A With Dairy Queen's Director of Franchise Sales, Mike Mettler
What about Dairy Queen makes it unique within its industry?
Our loyal fans and their smiles and stories.
What have been some of the brand's most important milestones over the past five years?
Although many DQ fans know us for our treats, the new store development has changed to almost 100 percent DQ Grill & Chill development over the last five years. This new store development has focused on the major U.S. market areas and has been at one of the highest opening rates for stand-alone drive-thru restaurants in the industry.
What plans does the brand have in the coming years?
We want to continue focusing on our fans, and that means more new DQ Grill & Chills near them, remodeled stores and continued menu innovations like DQ Bakes, DQ Royal Blizzard and Orange Julius.
What does an ideal franchisee look like?
The ideal franchisee has passion for our business and customers. Along with this passion, they have adequate financial resources to open and operate the restaurants and a high expectation for standards and service times. Examples are multi-unit operators of other brands and local business owners who are connected with their community.
Why is Dairy Queen a good investment?
Dairy Queen is a 76-year-old brand with a proven track record. We’ll continue to be a good investment for the next 76 years.
DQ Grill & Chill
No. Of Units Currently Open:
6,700 Total / 1,560 Grill & Chill
$1,077,225 to $1,833,125
Liquid Capital Requirement:
Net Worth Requirement:
1,886 - 2,612 sq ft
20,952 - 29,670