International Dairy Queen Inc., the fast-food chain owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., opened locations in Taiwan and Vietnam as it targets expansion beyond the U.S and Canada.
A Taipei store opened in December and six more are planned in Taiwan this year after Dairy Queen was absent from the island for at least a decade, Jean Champagne, chief operating officer of international groups, said in a telephone interview. Dairy Queen has more than 600 stores in China.
“We can leverage our people, we can leverage our supply chain” by expanding in Taiwan, Champagne said.
Two restaurants opened last week in Ho Chi Minh City, marking Dairy Queen’s entry into Vietnam, Champagne said. Another six are planned in the country by the end of 2014. The ice-cream seller is catering to local tastes with flavors popular in Asia such as green tea with red bean or almond and extra green tea.
Dairy Queen is in “pretty serious discussions” to enter Poland and Turkey, as well as the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Jordan in the Middle East, he said. It has franchises in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar.
About a fifth of Dairy Queen’s more than 6,400 locations are outside the U.S. and Canada, according to a statement yesterday from the Minneapolis-based company. Two restaurants in Guyana, the Caribbean country that borders Venezuela, are set to open next week for a total of seven this year, Champagne said.
Dairy Queen, whose brands include fruit-drink maker Orange Julius and popcorn-retailer Karmelkorn, was purchased by Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire in 1998.