Anyone who has grown up with the DQ® brand may find it hard to relate to what it must be like for a brand to enter the international food and treats industry for the first time. What I think of as a brand that has been around “forever” can be confusing to someone in another country who has never even heard the words “Dairy Queen®.”
The International Division at International Dairy Queen, Inc. has this distinctly unique challenge. Both potential franchisees and consumers have to first be educated about what the DQ brand is before they can begin to understand how it can generate positive memories.
There are currently more than 550 DQ locations in 19 countries outside the United States and Canada. Recent development has been focused on five key global markets: Mexico, the Middle East, China, Thailand and The Philippines. New DQ markets opening during 2009 include Kuwait, Trinidad and Tobago and the Mexican markets of Saltillo and Manzanillo.
While many products offered in international DQ locations are similar to those in the United States and Canada, others differ based on consumer preferences and local menu offerings. For example, fruity treats are popular in Mexico and Caribbean countries, while mint flavoring and Cookie Dough mix-ins are not as popular.
Mexico features products such as Chamoy and Horchata. Chamoy is a plum, tamarind (fruit tree) or apricot fruit base mixed with chili powder, while Horchata is a sweet, milk-based treat with hints of cinnamon and vanilla. Other popular products in Mexico include the Mango Blizzard® Treat, Oreo MooLatté drink and the Lemon Cheesecake Blizzard Treat.
In Panama, nachos and jumbo hot dogs are popular, and they are working on introducing local flavors such as guava, avocado and marcuya (passion fruit.) In China, the best-selling Blizzard flavor is Green Tea. Also in China, portion size is smaller because many Asians are not accustomed to eating a lot of treat products at one time. In the Middle East, DQ restaurants are open 24-hours a day because it is cooler outside at night, and they serve Halal-certified meat, which means that the food is permissible according to Islamic law.
Obviously, international tastes and preferences vary. No matter what the country though, the Blizzard Flavor Treat is still by far the most popular product on the menu. Are there any international flavors you wish you could see at your local DQ restaurant?