Think global, act local... Dairy Queen on how to make all All-American concept work in China, Singapore and Egypt
By Elaine WATSON
- Last updated on
It's not in quite as many markets as McDonald's -yet - but Dairy Queen is now in 21 countries from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, Guatemala and China, said global product development boss Dr William Barrier. And trying to strike a balance between providing a consistent experience and catering to local tastes is an ongoing challenge.
In a presentation outlining the challenges of operating in markets where the infrastructure, regulatory requirements and consumer tastes can be very different to those in Dairy Queen's home market, Dr Barrier described how the company had had to adapt its supply chain and product development systems to cope.
For example, in the US, Dairy Queen typically works with Mom & Pop-scale franchisees, he said, whereas in Asia, it typically works with large corporations operating large numbers of outlets.
Similarly, while Dairy Queen's target audience in some markets is families, in some Asian markets, it's core demographic is hip 18-32-year old Millennials looking for a more upmarket experience, in both products and decor.
As for ingredient-sourcing, there is no one-size fits all policy, he said. In China, for example, Dairy Queen quickly discovered that finding an industrial-scale, automated supplier of chocolate brownie pieces for adding to Blizzards was not going to be easy, while in Egypt, it is only permitted to use ingredients with a shelf-life of three months.
In the Middle East, meanwhile, it proved very difficult to find suppliers of fresh chicken, while any market entry in India will likely involve "radical changes" to product menus, he predicted.
As for the development cycle for new products, this can range from six months to three to four years, depending on whether proprietary ingredients are involved and whether the infrastructure in the market in question is in place to take new concepts to market, he said.
On the product development front, Dairy Queen has also been working with flavors giant Givaudan to create novel variations of the Blizzard built around concepts such as 'wellbeing' (green tea); 'rooted and real' (pink guava & almonds, ginger chocolate, lychee cheesecake); and 'desire and delight' (tiramisu, strawberry and white & dark chocolate).
Some of these will translate into multiple markets, while others are more region-specific, he said.