About Us

An Edible DQ® Encyclopedia


The Official DQ® System Website 

American Dairy Queen Corporation is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. DQ® operators have been providing consumers with crave-satisfying treats and food since 1940.

See below for information regarding: History, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, DQ® Cares Product Grant Program, & Local Community Partnerships.






The founders of the Dairy Queen® system were men and women who introduced a new kind of dessert treat and, in the process, developed the foundation of the franchising industry. The history of the DQ® system is a story of a unique product that created an industry.

A Story of Sweet Success

For more than 70 years, the DQ® system’s recipe for success has been simple. It’s been a combination of hardworking people who own and operate restaurants, and great-tasting food and tempting treats served in our establishments.

Our phenomenal story began with the 10-cent sale of a then unnamed product on August 4, 1938, in Kankakee, Illinois. A father and son partnership in Green River, Illinois, had been experimenting with a soft frozen dairy product for some time. They contacted Sherb Noble, a good friend and customer, who agreed to run the “all you can eat” trial sale at his walk-in ice cream store. Within two hours, he dished out more than 1,600 servings of the new dessert.

Back then, food franchising was all but unheard of, but the new product’s potential made it a natural for such a system. When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, there were fewer than 10 Dairy Queen® stores. However, shortly after the war, the system took off at a pace virtually unrivaled before or since. With only 100 stores in 1947, it grew to 1,446 in 1950 and then to 2,600 in 1955. Today, the DQ® system is one of the largest fast food systems in the world, with more than 6,000 restaurants in the United States, Canada and 18 other countries.

Although much has changed in the world and in the DQ® system through the years, one constant has remained: DQ® restaurants are still, and always have been, the place to find kids’ sports teams celebrating a victory, business people on their lunch break and families taking time out to enjoy great food and soft serve treats. And success for the DQ® system is as simple today as it was in 1940. Satisfied customers lead to successful restaurants. Each owner of our independently owned and operated establishments worldwide is committed to nothing less than the “So Good It’s RiDQulous® slogan.

Highlights of the DQ® system include:

  • 1940: First Dairy Queen® store opens in Joliet, Illinois.
  • 1953: First DQ® store opens in Canada.
  • 1955: The Dilly® Bar debuts.
  • 1962: International Dairy Queen, Inc. (IDQ) is formed.
  • 1979: The DQ® system debuts in the Middle East.
  • 1985: More than 175 million Blizzard® Treats sold in its first year.
  • 1989: Dairy Queen® ranked America’s number one treat chain.
  • 1991: First DQ® store opens in Mexico.
  • 1999: An operator of several DQ® locations in Massachusetts builds the world’s largest blended treat, weighing in at 5,316.6 pounds.
  • 2005: GrillBurgers™ are introduced to consumers on national TV.
  • 2005: The record is broken on June 21, when a new World’s Largest Blizzard® Treat is built in Springfield, Massachusetts. It weighs 8,224.85 pounds and is 22 feet tall.

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals


Dairy Queen® loves kids. Whether its kids’ sports teams celebrating at our restaurants after games, children enjoying dinner with their parents or teenagers visiting for cool treats at the end of a date, DQ® and kids go hand in hand. And if these cherished youngsters ever become sick or injured, we want to help assure they have the best medical care available.

That’s why the DQ® system has been a proud national sponsor of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN Hospitals) since 1984. During the past 29 years, DQ® operators throughout the United States and Canada have raised more than $97 million for CMN Hospitals. From collecting customers’ pocket change to selling paper Miracle Balloons and holding special events like Miracle Treat Day, our support enables us to give something back to the communities in which we do business.

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to generating funds and awareness programs to benefit kids treated at 170 children’s hospitals throughout North America. CMN Hospitals raises funds through innovative cause-marketing promotions and other programs developed to meet the business objectives of its sponsors. CMN Hospitals’ hallmark is that 100 percent of locally generated donations stay in the community to benefit kids treated at the local CMN Hospital.

CMN Hospitals represent the premier pediatric healthcare facilities in their respective communities, treating children of all afflictions, including cancer, birth defects, accidents and muscular and cardiovascular diseases. These facilities, which provide care based on filling the needs of families rather than on their ability to pay, treat more than 17 million kids each year.

DQ® and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals are a perfect fit.

DQ® Cares Product Grant Program


In 2013 our Corporate Giving Program will provide DQ® product (Dilly® Bars) to Minnesota-based 501(C)3 organizations that help kids and families who need it most in the Twin Cities metro area.


– Applications accepted via email between January 15 and December 15, 2013
– Product Grants Award Notification/Decline within two weeks of application receipt
– Product Grants awarded as budget allows through calendar year
– Product Grants must be redeemed within the 2013 calendar year unless special arrangements are agreed upon prior to December 31, 2013

Criteria and Application

Thank you for your interest in the friends of DQ® Cares Product Grant Program. We are no longer accepting applications for the 2013 calendar year. Please check back in early 2014.

Local Community Partnerships


Note: Due to the fact that our locations are individually owned and operated, these programs are at the discretion of the operator. Contact your local DQ® restaurant for specific details.

Scholastic Achievement

To encourage students to continually strive for excellence, Dairy Queen® operators often establish reward initiatives featuring free hot food or soft-serve products. A few such efforts, which can run on either a quarter or semester basis, include:

Dairy Queen® Restaurant Tours

Schools are always looking for educational field trip ideas. Many DQ® operators offer tours of their restaurant to kids in grades 1-4. Students who visit learn how the facility operates and the importance of cleanliness and hard work. They receive a guided tour through each area of the restaurant and the machinery is usually explained in language they can easily understand. At the end of the tour, each student learns how to make their own DQ® cone, and then enjoy eating it.

Student Discounts

Dairy Queen® operators don’t forget about the older kids in their area. Recognizing that high school and college students are typically low on cash, they often provide discount cards or create affordable Student Meal Deals.

Product Donations

Upon request, many Dairy Queen® operators often provide frozen cakes or other products for school activities. Whether it’s a class project, high school prom or graduation party, we are happy to help make any student event more special.

What’s Happening in Your Community?

The aforementioned ideas are just a few of the many programs Dairy Queen® operators implement to partner with local schools and colleges. Contact your local Dairy Queen® operator regarding any of their existing school programs or to discuss potential partnership opportunities.