Dairy Queen Heads to Europe with Poland Deal

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Berkshire’s Dairy Queen currently has over 6,400 Dairy Queen stores in the United States, Canada and 26 other countries, but it doesn’t have any in Europe.

Zero, zip, nada.

That’s about to end as the Dairy Queen® system has inked a deal for its first locations in Poland.

Why Poland?

“Poland is a country with a robust and stable economy while still having strong growth potential for international brands. In searching for a new opportunity, we were looking for a solid partner who was ready to enter the Polish market,” said Wojciech Siwiec, General Manager of Sparrow 4 Sp. Z.O.O. “We are excited to partner with the Dairy Queen system, whose significant experience and know-how provides a strong foundation for success. We are looking forward to a good collaboration in launching the DQ brand in Poland.”

The initial DQ Grill & Chill and DQ Treat locations in Poland will open in the spring of 2015 in the greater Warsaw metro region.

Expansion Into Eastern Europe

“Our strategy is to open franchises in emerging markets,” Dairy Queen’s president and CEO John Gainor says. “That’s why Poland is a logical choice. We are avoiding countries such as France where the competition is very well established.”

Poland is just the beginning, according Dairy Queen’s Jean Champagne, Chief Operations Officer — International Groups.

“This move is strategic. We are entering the Eastern European market at a time when Western brands are being embraced by a consumer base that is well informed on the importance of global brands,” Champagne said. “We look forward to working with a strong franchise partner in Poland. We see this as a launching pad for other contiguous countries in the region.”

DQ’s International Expansion

While Dairy Queen continues to grow in the U.S., with stores in Manhattan and surrounding boroughs opening last year, the international business has been particularly robust, with 1,426 locations, and over 600 stores in China alone.

Middle East expansion have been particularly aggressive, with Saudi Arabia on track to open 32 locations by 2015 through franchisee Al Safwa Food Group. The largest DQ Grill & Chill restaurant in the world is in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Kuwait locations are owned by Khaled For Foodstuffs Co., a subsidiary of KMGC, and UAE locations are owned by U.S.-based International franchise company Bajco Group.

Dairy Queen doesn’t want to do its international expansion piece meal, and is looking for franchisees with the strength to take on whole countries.

For more information read a Mazor’sEdge special report on Dairy Queen.

© 2015 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.