Buffett’s Dairy Queen Bringing Treats Back to Kuwait

International Dairy Queen, the fast-food and ice-cream seller owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., is bringing its American-style meals and treats back to Kuwait after an absence of more than a decade.

More than 20 locations will open in the country in the next five years, Minneapolis-based Dairy Queen said in a Dec. 23 statement announcing a new franchise agreement. Four to five may begin operations in 2015, Brad Houser, vice president of international development, said in a phone interview.

“Because we had been there previously, we had quite a bit of interest in going back,” he said. “We were able to find a partner and already, they’ve secured their first location.”

Dairy Queen has boosted its presence outside of the U.S. and Canada. The company has announced plans to develop stores and restaurants in the United Arab Emirates and said earlier this year it would expand in Asia. Success in Saudi Arabia in particular spurred interest in the brand in the Middle East, Houser said.

Dairy Queen, whose brands include fruit-drink maker Orange Julius and popcorn-popper Karmelkorn, debuted in the region in 1979, according to the company’s website. Operations in Kuwait started in the 1990s and closed in 2003 when the franchisee decided to leave the restaurant business, Houser said.

Most food and treats offered in Kuwait will be the same as those on U.S. menus, Houser said. One item unique to the Middle East is the beef kofta, a spicier, gyro-type sandwich.

Of the chain’s more than 6,300 locations, about 22 percent are outside of the U.S. and Canada, about 2 percentage points more than in January. The company plans to open 250 stores and eateries in 2015 after adding about 240 this year, Houser said.

“We are building on our global brand equity as well as looking forward to developing future growth opportunities in the region,” Houser said in the statement.

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