Dairy Queen Franchisees Protest Upgrades

…the DQ Grill & Chill concept introduced about two years ago demands too much money for upgrades for some rural and small town Dairy Queen franchise owners. Rules being set up for the stores, which feature earth-toned dining rooms and offer menus that go beyond soft-serve ice cream and hamburgers, will put some franchise owners out of business, Cooper said.

Associated Press
April 29, 2004

Dairy Queen Franchisees Protest Upgrades
Joe Ruff

OMAHA, Neb. - A group of International Dairy Queen franchise owners is protesting restaurant upgrades and has erected a billboard in Omaha to chide company owner and billionaire investor Warren Buffett (news - web sites).

The sign was put up Wednesday before thousands of shareholders arrive for Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s annual meeting on Saturday. Berkshire bought Minneapolis-based Dairy Queen in 1998.

"Warren, your grill is killing our chill," reads the billboard, which sits on Interstate 480.

Harris Cooper, the executive director of the Dairy Queen Operators' Association and a former president of International Dairy Queen, said the DQ Grill & Chill concept introduced about two years ago demands too much money for upgrades for some rural and small town Dairy Queen franchise owners.

Rules being set up for the stores, which feature earth-toned dining rooms and offer menus that go beyond soft-serve ice cream and hamburgers, will put some franchise owners out of business, Cooper said.

The association, which counts more than 1,500 franchise owners as members, wants to negotiate more lenient rules to better account for various markets, Cooper said.

Dairy Queen spokesman Chuck Mooty said most franchise owners support the new initiative.

"I think the (association) is trying to present a sense of fear and unrest," Mooty said. "Unfortunately it has now taken the tack of bringing Warren (Buffett) into the picture."


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