Restaurant Guide

15 Things You Didn’t Know About Dairy Queen

The popular fast food chain known for its Blizzards and Dilly Bars is chock-full of fun facts you had no idea about.

Restaurant Guide

15 Things You Didn’t Know About Dairy Queen

The popular fast food chain known for its Blizzards and Dilly Bars is chock-full of fun facts you had no idea about.

Drive down any highway in the US and you’re bound to come across an exit for a Dairy Queen. The popular fast food joint which serves frozen treats along with hot staples like chicken fingers and burgers has been a major player in the fast food game since the 1950s.

But there’s more to DQ than its beloved Blizzard and signature soft serve. Did you know a Dairy Queen that also served hot food used to be called a “Brazier?” Or that Dennis the Menace was the cartoon spokesman until 2001? Here are some more fun facts you may not know about Dairy Queen. And if you have a craving for a Blizzard, check out our list of Every Dairy Queen Blizzard—Ranked!

1

DQ Was a Pioneer for Soft Serve

Courtesy of Facebook, Dairy Queen

Soft serve is available at most restaurants these days, especially fast food. But Dairy Queen was the pioneer of the ice cream trend; one of the DQ founders, John Fremont McCullough, and his son Bradley experimented with a soft frozen dairy product in 1938. They partnered with friend and ice cream shop owner Sherb Noble and began selling what is now known as soft serve on August 4, 1938. In two hours, they dished out more than 1,600 servings.

2

The First Dairy Queen Was Opened in 1940

Two years after their soft serve success, John Fremont McCullough, his son Bradley, and Sherb Noble opened the first Dairy Queen in Joliet, Illinois.

3

The First Location is a Landmark

Courtesy of azfoo.net

The original DQ location at 501 North Chicago Street in Joliet, Illinois is considered a landmark, even though it hasn’t been a Dairy Queen since the 1950s.

4

The Blizzard Was Introduced in 1985

DQ is now known for its iconic Blizzard, where candy and other delicious toppings like cookies and brownies are mixed into ice cream for a decadent sweet treat. But the first Blizzard didn’t hit stores until 1985. That first year, DQ sold more than 175 million of them.

5

Employees Turn Blizzards Upside Down Before Serving

When customers order a Blizzard at DQ, employees turn the treat upside down so you can see just how thick the Blizzard really is. This trick (and the Blizzard itself) was inspired by a frozen custard shop in St. Louis called Ted Drewes, which serves thick frozen custard with mix-ins called concretes. Although this upside down trick is mostly just for show, some locations give you a free Blizzard if an employee forgets to turn it upside down.

6

The Swirl on the Top of the Soft Serve is Trademarked


Courtesy of Facebook, Dairy Queen

The swirl on top of a soft serve cone isn’t just pretty for the food photography; it’s actually considered a DQ trademark. It’s supposed to resemble a “Q,” and some employees even refer to it as that.

7

The Soft Serve Recipe is Top Secret

Courtesy of Instagram, @DairyQueen

Since it was developed in 1938, DQ has kept the recipe for its famous soft serve under lock and key. Literally. "[The formula] is kept in a safe deposit box and there are only a few keys to it," chief branding officer Michael Keller told ABC News.

8

DQ Also Owns Orange Julius


Courtesy of Facebook, Dairy Queen

The other fast food joint known for its frozen treats (in this case fruit smoothies) is a subsidiary of Dairy Queen. Some Dairy Queens will even offer Orange Julius smoothies on their menus.

9

There Are More DQs in Texas Than Any Other State

DQ may have started in Illinois, but Texas is home to more Dairy Queens than any other state in America. There are currently more than 600 DQs in the Lone Star state.

10

But the Largest DQ in America is in Bloomington, IL

Courtesy of Google Maps

There’s a DQ in its home state that spreads 5,000 square feet, has a 140-seat dining room, three fireplaces, and a patio. It may be the largest in the US, but the biggest in the world is actually in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

11

Dairy Queen is in 30 Countries

And it’s not just Saudi Arabia; you can find a Dairy Queen in 230 countries including Egypt, Thailand, and Costa Rica.

12

Mark Cuban Managed a DQ in 2002

The billionaire businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner found himself in some hot water in 2002 when he slammed Ed Rush, the NBA’s head of officiating, saying he wasn’t even capable of managing a Dairy Queen. So the fast food chain reached out to Cuban with an offer to try managing a store and he accepted. He spent two hours in a Dairy Queen in Coppell, Texas, and apparently had trouble creating the perfect “Q” on top of the soft serve.

13

The World’s Largest Blizzard Was 22 Feet Tall


Courtesy of Facebook, Dairy Queen

A world record was achieved on June 21, 2005, when the World’s Largest Blizzard was created in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Blizzard weighed 8,224.85 pounds and was 22 feet tall.

14

The Band No Doubt Formed in a DQ

The SoCal rock band has been a major staple in the music scene for decades, but they actually formed at a Dairy Queen in the late ‘80s. Eric Stefani and Greg Spence met while working at a DQ and decided to form a band together, recruiting other members to join. The rest is music history.

15

It Used to Serve Fro-Yo


Courtesy of Facebook, Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen tried its hand at frozen yogurt in the ‘90s, when the low-fat diet was all the rage. Unfortunately, customers didn’t take a liking to it, and DQ pulled it from their menu after about 10 years. Which is just as well; fro-yo tends to have just as much, if not more, sugar than ice cream. If you’re looking for a healthier treat, you’re better off sticking with a small hot fudge sundae; it's our Top Swap at Dairy Queen.