History of Dairy Queen: In 1938, near Moline, Illinois, J.F. McCullough and his son, Alex, developed the delicious dairy product millions have come to know as Dairy Queen soft serve. The McCulloughs' innovation was the beginning of today's system of more than 5,700 Dairy Queen and Dairy Queen/Brazier stores in the United States, Canada, and many other countries in Europe, Central America, the Far East, and the Middle East. The McCulloughs arranged to test their new product in an ice cream retail shop in Kankakee, Illinois, owned by Sherb Noble, Noble held an "All You Can Eat for 10 Cents" sale on August afternoon. More than 1,600 people lined up to try the new treat, and the McCulloughs knew they had an exciting business opportunity. All they needed now was an efficient way to dispense their soft serve product -- and they soon located a freezer, invented by Harry Oltz of Hammond, Indiana, which could produce a continuous flow of the product. J.F. McCullough often referred to the cow as "the queen of the dairy business". Thus, the Dairy Queen name originated. The first Dairy Queen® store, owned by Noble, opened in 1940 in Joliet, Illinois.
Today, there are over 5,700 Dairy Queen® stores throughout the world and Dairy Queen is much more than a single product. Dairy Queen is a place where a variety of products are sold including not only our DQ soft serve products, but also the Brazier line of hot foods. Dairy Queen is the largest seller of soft frozen dessert products in the world.
Although much has changed in the world and in the Dairy Queen® system throughout the years, one constant has remained: Dairy Queen stores are still, and always have been, a place to find Little League teams celebrating a victory, business people on their lunch break, and families taking time out to enjoy great food and soft serve treats.