Dairy Queen has its eye on Vermont and is already talking to potential franchisees in Burlington, where the company believes as many as five stores could open
Dairy Queen is returning to Vermont.
Jim Kerr, the 75-year-old company’s vice president of franchise development, said Thursday he is in talks with potential franchisees in the Burlington area.
“We’d love to see someone commit during 2016 and have an opportunity to open the first store in 2016 or early 2017,” Kerr said. “I think we have a pretty good chance.”
Kerr believes Burlington could support as many as five Dairy Queens, and that there are 15 to 20 potential locations in Vermont as a whole.
“Our goal would be to build throughout Vermont,” Kerr said.
Vermont is the only state without a Dairy Queen. A store on North Winooski Avenue in Burlington closed years ago and was replaced by a local ice cream store that also shut down. The chain also had a store in the food court at University Mall in South Burlington. Last week, QSR Magazine, the trade publication for “quick-service and fast casual” restaurants, named Burlington as one of the best locations to open a store in 2016.
Kerr said Dairy Queen is growing at a “pretty strong pace” nationally and internationally, with 84 new restaurants in the United States last year, a number the company expects to exceed this year. Worldwide, Dairy Queen has more than 6,700 locations.
“One of the reasons we’re seeing success is because of the strength of ownership and the executive team,” Kerr said. Kerr is referring to famed investor Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. owns Dairy Queen’s parent company, International Dairy Queen Inc., based in Minneapolis.