Special Report

Dairy Queen Capitals of America

D.Q. Corp., whose restaurants are branded as Dairy Queen and DQ Grill and Chill, offers its signature Blizzards (dense, ice-cold soft-serve ice cream shakes blended with various additions), along with burgers and other kinds of fast food at more than 4,000 locations across the United States. It’s owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, and Buffet is said to be a fan of Blizzards. In fact, he and Bill Gates worked a shift serving them up at an Omaha DQ in 2019. (We hope they’re not watching their weight. (Here are 24 milkshakes with more calories than an entire meal.)

To determine which states have the most DQ outlets, both total and per capita, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data collected by NiceRx, a patient assistance program and medication access company, using numbers for total fast-food restaurants taken from the U.S. Census Bureau and tracking the nation’s ten most popular chains as determined by ScrapeHero.com. (Population figures are five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.) We then ranked the states by their per capita DQ restaurants population per 100,000 residents, lowest to highest. Ties were broken using the total number of Dairy Queen restaurants in the state.

Click here to see the Dairy Queen capitals of America

We discovered that the Dairy Queen capitals of America are North and South Dakota, with 5 and 4.5 restaurants per 100,000 residents, respectively. That’s somewhat unusual, as the Dakotas are typically near the bottom of other fast-food chain rankings. 

Minnesota — the home state of the company, whose corporate offices are in Bloomington — claims the No. 3 spot, with 4 Dairy Queens per 100,000 people. Texas is the leader in absolute terms, on the other hand, with 580 Dairy Queens, or roughly 15% of all the outlets in the country. Vermont, famously inhospitable to big chain operations, isn’t on the list: It is the only state in the union that doesn’t have a single DQ restaurant.