It’s rare for a brand to break away from the average ranks of the highly competitive limited service restaurant industry to create a strong relationship with American consumers that lasts for decades. But for Dairy Queen®, being exceptional is nothing new.
The brand, which is known for its superior frozen treats and innovative line of sandwiches, has been at the forefront of the industry for the past 75 years. Customers across the country routinely stop at their local DQ® for a Blizzard® or ice cream cone with their families and friends. Now—thanks to the brand’s ever-increasing expansion efforts—a new city will have the chance to make Dairy Queen a part of its community: Boston.
“Dairy Queen truly feels at home in Boston. We’ve had a strong network of local franchisees and stores operating there for 50 years,” said Mike Mettler, director of national franchise sales at Dairy Queen. “But that doesn’t mean that further expansion is off the table. There are some segments of the population that don’t have a Dairy Queen close to them, even though they’re fully aware of the brand and the delicious products we serve.”
That opportunity for future development is especially relevant because of the wildly successful DQ Grill & Chill® concept. The restaurant model, which initially launched in 2002, has been building momentum in cities across the U.S. Grill & Chill locations by offering more variety on their menus—items like premium burgers, chicken sandwiches and snack melts are served alongside DQ’s signature frozen desserts.
As the Grill & Chill concept has continued to pick up speed, existing franchisees—like Boston’s own Nicky Piperis—have started converting their stores to the model. Piperis, who currently operates Dairy Queen units in Milford and West Boylston, Massachusetts, says the concept is perfect for the Boston area.
“It’s no secret that Boston is a sports town, even on a much smaller scale. Dairy Queen has become a tradition for families and children after school swim meets or soccer games, and there’s no shortage of those sporting events happening here. That means there’s tons of room for the brand to grow within the city and its surrounding areas,” said Piperis.
Dairy Queen agrees that there are numerous opportunities for expansion—the brand has identified 60-plus locations in the Boston market that are strong development areas. But the brand isn’t planning on opening all 60 right off the bat. Instead, its focus is on finding the right pieces of real estate and local business owners to successful open new franchises.
With a metro population of nearly two million, Dairy Queen expects to find those qualified business owners and buildings in the near future. The brand’s confident that as soon as it gets the ball rolling in Boston, the concept will catch on and fuel rapid growth for years to come.
“At the end of the day, the Dairy Queen brand relates well to the Boston community. That’s why we’re so excited to expand our concept there,” said Mettler. “Dairy Queen is already recognized as a top brand to beat, and our expansion efforts will only continue to bring that reputation to the next level.”
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