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?
The first Dairy Queen® store opened in 1940 in Joliet, Ill. The first location opened in Canada 13 years later, and one year after that, the first international location opened in Iceland. Today there are more than 5,600 Dairy Queen stores in the United States, Canada and 19 other foreign countries.
So where in the world could you find a DQ® store today? Below is a listing:
The Bahamas: 2
The Cayman Islands: 1
The Philippines: 16
United Arab Emirates: 4
And the numbers continue to increase. During 2009, people in Kuwait and Trinidad and Tobago also learned about the great products sold at DQ stores, and now have the opportunity to join the league of loyal DQ customers. If you could go to any DQ location in the world outside the United States and Canada, where would you go?
When military personnel travel overseas, they miss many of the sights and sounds of home. Oftentimes, the country where they are stationed has a different language, different climate and the stresses of political or religious unrest, all of which can make it even more difficult to be far away. Luckily, some military personnel in Afghanistan are able to enjoy a little bit of home in the form of Dairy Queen treats.
Three DQ locations are currently open in Afghanistan, and all are located on military bases. A Dairy Queen corporate employee received this photo from a friend who is currently stationed in Afghanistan. In the area where he is stationed, military personnel are able to get DQ treats through their military exchange store.
How wonderful that these soldiers can still enjoy some of the “comforts” of home. Even when far away from their loved ones, perhaps a little DQ treat helps brighten their day.
Everyone in the United States knows that the Dairy Queen® system has been around forever… or at least for about the last 70 years. But what many people might not know is that the Dairy Queen brand exists in other countries besides the United States and Canada—19 other foreign countries to be exact! There are more than 5,600 DQ® locations around the world, and the numbers keep growing.
In 1959, the first Dairy Queen restaurant in the Central American country of Panama opened to the public. This year marks the 50th anniversary of that store’s opening, and to date there are seven other DQ locations in Panama. The official celebration took place in March, but there are festivities and celebrations that will continue throughout the rest of the year.
To kick off the “50 Years Growing With You” campaign, a birthday party was held for DQ staff, special guests and the local media. Shortly after that, the general manager from the DQ store visited TV and radio stations to participate in morning talk shows, and on one radio program they developed “Dairy Queen Memories,” where people could call in to share their memories of growing up with the DQ brand. The event was so successful it prompted the launch of a Facebook page, and those who shared stories and photos were entered to win prizes like digital picture frames and cameras. And in September, they held a Customer Appreciation Day.
Panama, which is located between Colombia and Costa Rica, borders the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean. It is slightly smaller than the size of South Carolina and has a population of more than 3 million people. The most popular menu items are Blizzard® Treats, chili dogs, shakes, Moolatte® beverages and banana splits. They also sell DQ Cakes, which were just introduced to the country last year.
Last summer, the Dairy Queen® brand reached a huge landmark when the 500th international DQ® location outside of the United States and Canada opened in Manila, Philippines. That’s right—there are DQ stores in the Philippines! In fact, the Philippines is home to 20 DQ locations on last count, and there are currently DQ locations in 19 countries other than the U.S. and Canada.
The Philippines is an archipelago in Southeastern Asia east of Vietnam. The country is slightly larger than the size of Arizona, but has a population of more than 96 million. All of the DQ locations in the country are Dairy Queen/Orange Julius® stores that only serve treats, not food.
The most popular treat internationally is the same one that is No. 1 in North America—the Blizzard® Treat, with the Oreo® Blizzard Treat being the favorite in the Philippines. The products on the menu are similar to those found in the United States and Canada, but they are sold in smaller sizes. Internationally, the Blizzard Treat is guaranteed to be served “upside down or it’s free,” which the Filipino customers love.