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How the DQ® Brand Continues Canadian Expansion Through Family Influence

The fast-growing concept plans to add up to 80 locations between the Ontario and Manitoba provinces

By 1851 Staff1851 Staff Contributions
SPONSORED 2:14PM 10/03/17

For many franchisees in the Dairy Queen® system, the venture represents not only a business, but a family affair.

Nikki Hagidiakow, for example, recently opened a DQ Grill & Chill® location in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband Nick after seeing her mom and aunt go through the franchising process with the DQ brand. Helping them launch operations in Saskatchewan inspired her to follow an entrepreneurial path with the opportunity, as well.

“My mom always had a dream of being her own boss and found franchising as a way to achieve that goal,” Hagidiakow said. “When I was still in college, my mom and aunt were in the process of looking at different franchises and I was helping them do research and meet with different companies so was very invested in the process. Then, there was an opportunity to open a location in Winnipeg that presented itself at the right time for my husband and me to buy into the company.”

The recently opened DQ Grill & Chill location in Winnipeg was a welcomed addition to the community, as it replaced a previously open mall-based treat store with the new DQ Grill & Chill concept, offering a wider variety of food options for consumers. 

“We have always been fans of the brand and I’ve only heard good things about the franchising opportunity and corporate teams,” said Hagidiakow.

The DQ Grill & Chill restaurant model is the brand’s booming QSR concept. The restaurant interior brings an innovative dimension to the quick-serve restaurant environment. Highlighted by separate “grill” and “chill” preparation areas, the restaurant features comfortable booths and other types of seating, warm lighting, music and an overall inviting restaurant atmosphere. 

Nikki and Nick Hagidiakow plan to build upon the momentum of their DQ Grill & Chill restaurant in Winnipeg by converting an Orange Julius® location in the Polo Park Shopping Center to a DQ Grill & Chill model in the spring of 2018. 

The growth experienced by the Hagidiakow represents just a portion of the momentum the DQ brand is seeing throughout Manitoba and Ontario. In the next few years, Manitoba’s planned growth markets include Westport, Sage Creek, Southdale, Dauphin, Thompson, Flin Flon, Verdun and Beausejour. Additionally, the DQ brand is looking at development opportunity in the greater Toronto area including Brampton, Vaughn, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Shelburne. 

“Our number one priority while we are experiencing this kind of growth is identifying strong franchise partners, like the Hagidiakow, and then working with them to identify quality real estate within the market,” said Tony Watters,  Franchise Development Manager for Dairy Queen Canada, Inc. “Something we want to resonate with our brand is that when the Dairy Queen brand moves into a town, the location becomes that town's Dairy Queen restaurant. We want to encourage small town local ownership."

To learn more about the Dairy Queen brand and franchising opportunities, please visit their website.