55. That’s the combined number of years that husband and wife duo Aimee and Terry Sims have spent in the restaurant industry. After serving as multi-unit area supervisors with iconic franchise brands like Taco Bell and Arby’s, the two decided to pursue ownership of their own restaurant.
There was a closed Dairy Queen location near their home in Alabaster, Ala. in a high traffic area near the local movie theater and Walmart, so the couple capitalized on the opportunity to open a new restaurant on the property.
But instead of buying into one of the brands where they had spent most of their careers, they searched for the best business opportunity they could find. After talking with the Dairy Queen corporate team about the brand’s business opportunity, they quit their jobs, cashed in their retirement and opened their first DQ Grill & Chill® restaurant.
“Investing in something with staying power was very important to us,” said Aimee Sims. “The DQ system has been around for more than 75 years and appeals to people of all ages. They really live by the ‘smile and a story’ mentality. People remember their experiences with the DQ brand.”
The Sims were also attracted to the DQ Grill & Chill concept because it provided multiple revenue streams between the brand’s iconic treats, the quick-service restaurant menu and the DQ cakes business.
As parents of six children, it was important to the Sims to find a brand that would not only be profitable to support their family, but would also be a concept that would provide a legacy to leave future generations. With more than 75 years of brand equity, the Dairy Queen brand provided the lucrative opportunity and strong history they were looking for.
“From working with everyone at the DQ corporate office, it is clear that the brand has a well-defined identity and is constantly looking forward without losing sight of what the core of the brand is,” Sims said.
Since opening their first two locations, the Sims have followed the trend that many DQ franchisees embody: giving back to the communities they serve. Among their charitable initiatives was donating 30 percent of profits for a week to help an area school reach its goal of collecting $95,000 for new band uniforms. The Sims’ DQ location also raised more than $2,000 in just three hours for a local premature baby’s family while the baby was hospitalized and the Sims also continue to work diligently to support the brand’s national partnership with the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.
Due to the rapid success that the Sims saw with their locations in Alabaster and Homewood, Ala., they’re launching plans to build their portfolio with seven to eight additional DQ Grill & Chill locations across the Northwest Arkansas market.
“While it was scary in the beginning to take every penny we had and invest it into a business, we have always believed in our experience and community,” said Sims. “We look forward to continue building the DQ brand’s positive vision in a new market area that hasn’t yet experienced its delicious offerings and community focus.”