Dairy Queen outlets sue corporate parent

Marketplace Staff Feb 28, 2008


Lisa Napoli: Another American icon is having trouble of a different sort. Franchise owners of Dairy Queen in 10 states are suing the ice cream chain.
Marketplace’s Renita Jablonski explains why.

Renita Jablonski: The lawsuit pits mostly mom-and-pop franchise owners against International Dairy Queen and its corporate parent, Berkshire Hathaway.

Dairy Queen Classic Jingle: When you come to Dairy Queen, we treat you right.

DQ thinks some of its restaurants are as outdated as that jingle from the 1980s. Franchisee associations in states including Arizona, Ohio, and Virginia say the corporate office is forcing them to increase the size of their shops or add table service . . . or else no more soft-serve.

The entrepreneurs say they could lose their businesses. But the company says Dairy Queen isn’t being a Drama Queen. CEO Chuck Mooty says modernization is standard in most franchise contracts.

McDonald’s fried nerves in a similar battle last year when it required franchise owners to add lattes and cappuccinos. In the end, Ronald McDonald and friends agreed to help pay for the upgrade.

I’m Renita Jablonski for Marketplace.

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