Dairy Queen: Northern by Birth, but Texan by Choice

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Tony Maples Photography


Let’s get this out of the way right now. As shocking as this may seem, Dairy Queen is technically NOT a Texan company. (Actually, their corporate headquarters is in Minnesota.)  But so many Texans have grown up with Dairy Queen that the company may as well have originated in San Antonio. What makes this company so appealing to those of us who live in the Lone Star State?

One reason may be that Dairy Queens in Texas have their own menu. Want a Beltbuster burger? It can only be found in a Texas Dairy Queen. In the mood for a Steak Finger Country Basket at your DQ? If you’re in North Carolina, you are out of luck. Don’t expect to pick up an order of tacos at your Virginia Dairy Queen. Tacos can only be found at DQs in the state of Texas.

Dairy Queen: Northern by Birth, but Texan by Choice

Photo: @cherylvivian1 via Twenty20

Dairy Queen locations in Texas even have their own website (, which is separate from the main website ( It’s no wonder why Dairy Queen feels so Texan.

The company also has a Texas Dairy Queen Operator’s Council, which is a group of Texas-based franchise owners. They handle all marketing as well as the state’s DQ menu. That’s why the slogans you see on DQ billboards as you’re driving I-35 reference Texas specifically, instead of being generic like other fast-food chains. Texan owners are basically independent.

Dairy Queen: Northern by Birth, but Texan by Choice

Photo: @iamtheimpala via Twenty20

Also, there are more Dairy Queens in Texas (at around 600 locations) than there are in any other US state. If you grew up in Texas, there probably was a Dairy Queen in your town, no matter how small your town was. These restaurants were inexpensive to franchise, unlike some other fast-food places that can cost a lot of money to set up. Also, the corporate headquarters was responsive and granted permission to franchisees quickly. So, having a Dairy Queen in a small town made financial sense.

Like many transplants, DQ can’t help its place of birth. But since coming to Texas, the company has added value to the community by providing jobs, a place for people to congregate, and some good food. As a bonus, Texas Dairy Queens are basically independent and the franchise is friendly to small business owners. What could be more Texan than that?