Katharine Stone writes about Dairy Queen's attempt to rebrand itself as DQ -- a slightly more upscale brand that is known for food, not just blizzards.
We probably pile into the car once a month for strawberry shakes (for my son and husband, who insist they're better than you can get anywhere else) and a double Snickers Blizzard for me. But you couldn't get me to buy food in that place on a bet. I have no interest in whatever food DQ has to offer unless that food is made from cream and sugar and is -16 degrees C (the typical serving temperature of ice cream, in case you were wondering -- and yes, I had to look that up).She then goes on to ask:
If you were going to reposition Dairy Queen, or DQ as I understand they now prefer to call it, what would you do?A friend of mine's father retired a few years ago, and took his lump sum pension to open up a DQ.
He opened the store in a growing fringe of suburb where there weren't any established fast food chains in the immediate vicinity. The store was new and always bright and clean. In other words, not your typical DQ. Typical Dairy Queens in my experience tend to be old, kinda dark and dirty -- especially the bathrooms.
Customers felt comfortable buying food there. I tried the food a few times, and it was actually quite good. Some of it was better than McDonalds.
I think that's one of the answers to rebranding: work with your franchisees to change the feel of your stores. A bright, clean store will make customers more comfortable buying food, and happier to eat the food in-store.
Sidenote 1: DQ is a very common occurrence in small town Texas. I'm not sure why, but it seems like every small town has one. Probably it has -- or used to have -- low franchising fees. Either that or Texans just like ice cream.
Sidenote 2: I'll also note that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway owns Dairy Queen. You'd have a great track record if you always invested in the same business Buffett does.