Pros: Good ice cream selection; decent hot food
Cons: Service, prices, menu items and cleanliness varies (widely) at certain times.
In a small town like the one I live in, there's only about three or four fast food places--and seeing that most people complain about McDonalds, I decided to try and find a job at my local Dairy Queen. So, after working here for two months, I can report back to you on how things work, and what will bring you, as a customer, back for more--or turn you away.
-[Dairy Queen's Food Selection]-
Dairy Queen has all the food any other fast food eatery would have, with the added ice cream bonus. Since there are so many different types of food features, it would be best to break the food into categories. Below are just a few examples of what we have to offer.
Dairy Queen offers low-fat soft serve ice cream in small, medium, or large sizes. We can also dip your ice cream cones in a chocolate, cherry, or butterscotch shell. While our location does not carry chocolate soft serve, other locations may, so shop around. While I do like ice cream, Dairy Queen's mixture is still fairly heavy after eating it; so do not indulge too quickly, unless you don't mind feeling bloated.
We also offer several Royal Treat items, including the always popular Banana Split; which normally comes with three toppings--pineapple, strawberry, and chocolate; or, you can choose to subtract a topping and make it half and half. While some Dairy Queen locations will not do this, our location will; and your experience will likely vary from store to store.
My favorite Royal Treat is the Pecan Praline Parfait, when I can eat it all. The Pecan Praline Parfait starts out with Praline fudge, pecans, ice cream on top of this, then a second layer of praline fudge and pecans, more ice cream, with a ball on top, and the famous DQ curl. Again, praline fudge and pecans go on a third time to finish out the treat. While it tastes great, it can be a bit on the sweet side, so you may want to share this with someone else, unless you can handle a lot of ice cream.
Dairy Queen also offers Sugar-free ice cream bars that are available in several different flavors, including, but not necessarily limited to: Chocolate fudge, Vanilla-Orange, and Vanilla-Raspberry. I've never tried these bars, but they are fairly popular.
Our Dairy Queen also serves shakes, malts, and sundaes of numerous flavors.
The most popular ice cream treats are the Blizzards, which are treats consisting of vanilla soft serve and your choice of topping, mixed up and swirled around in our trademark Blizzard machines. There are a plethora of options for you to try, and Dairy Queen has a "Blizzard of the Month", so stop by each month to see what the new treat flavor is. My favorite blizzard is probably the Georgia Mud Fudge (which comes with Cocoa Fudge, Pecans, and Brownie Pieces), but you can choose anything from Reese's Pieces to Oreo Cookies, M&M's, Snickers to Butterfinger. We charge extra for extra toppings but we can mix or match your Blizzard to your specifications.
Currently in rotation on our Dairy Queen hamburger list are the Flamethrower (a spicy hamburger with Chipotle mayonnaise and jalapeno bacon), the Ultimate burger (which is similar but not exactly like a Big Mac), and of course, the Bacon Double Cheeseburger, Double Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, and the Hamburger. My favorite choice out of the above is definitely the Flamethrower. If you're big on spicy foods and like hamburgers, this is a great choice, because it's loaded with heat.
In my opinion, chicken is Dairy Queen's best feature. Boneless fritters and strips are used in our sandwiches, and they are tender and moist and taste great when fresh. Our chicken sandwiches come standard with lettuce, mayo, and tomato. You can opt to try a grilled or breaded chicken sandwich; I personally prefer the breaded because I like crispy chicken.
My favorite item at Dairy Queen is the Wild Buffalo chicken basket, because of the spiciness; while the buffalo sauce is certainly warm, it's not too spicy, and something a bit different for the taste buds. The buffalo chicken basket comes with french fries, celery, and your choice of dipping sauce--I prefer ranch or blue cheese. Customers have the choice of purchasing a four or six piece chicken basket.
If spicy is not your route, you can opt to eat the original chicken strip basket, which consists of regular fried crispy chicken fritters. This chicken basket comes with fries, a side order of gravy, and texas toast. Yes, you can opt to have this with either four or six pieces of chicken as well.
Our location also has other items you would expect, like onion rings, french fries, chili dogs (you can add onions and cheese if you prefer) and fish. Kid's meals are probably the best option if you are on a tight budget. Not only do the Kid's Meals come with fries and the food, you also receive a free coupon for a small ice cream cone. For less than $3, you can't beat the value. We also serve salads, topped with your choice of grilled or breaded chicken. Mmmm.
-[Cleanliness and Atmosphere]-
Some people have complained that Dairy Queen restaurants are dirty. I will admit; when this place gets busy it isn't always in clean shape--primarily because there are workers on front line trying to fill orders, while there is absolutely no one on patio trying to clean up after customers. This is especially true at our location during 12-3 in the afternoon, because there are no workers specifically assigned to the patio during the day; everyone takes their turn before a thirty minute break cleaning the patio, or someone who has nothing else to do on front line will go out and check when they have time--and sometimes this is not always possible.
Recently I had a customer stop by right after a crowd had come through....all I could do was look at her and ask her had she been here before; she said no. I could only imagine what may or may not have been running through her head about the shape our place was in. Dirty ice cream sleeves on the counter, brownies all over the place, and french fries on the floor, stepped on and smushed. Needless to say, if I weren't so tired, I would have got a manager and offered to give her something, because I felt so bad about the place being dirty.
I would like for customers to remember, though, that fast food places are not always clean as a whistle, so don't expect the inside of any Dairy Queen to be spotless. The best time to come by is through the week when we are not quite as busy; you will probably have a cleaner, more enjoyable experience.
Most of our walls are lined with Dairy Queen promotional ads, featuring close-up pictures of ice cream and food items, to try and tempt you to buy more--where there are no windows, the wall is blue-paneled; nothing overly fancy, but I actually prefer the simplistic look.
At our location, most prices are reasonable; a hamburger will run just over a dollar, while the higher priced specialty hamburgers like the Flamethrower cost about $3, or a little over. Super Value meals are offered where you can combine your sandwich, a small fry, and a medium drink. Different meals will have varying prices, but you shouldn't expect anything under $3 or anything over $6.
Chicken baskets are the best offer tastewise, but they can run quite pricey. A four piece chicken strip basket here is $4.59, while a six piece is over five bucks. The buffalo chicken basket runs about fifty cents higher on both levels.
Chili dogs are between $1 and $2, unless you order a footlong chili with cheese; it runs around $2.39--so choose carefully. French fries and onion rings start at about $1.19 for a small and run twenty to thirty cents higher for each size.
Ice cream treats are a bit on the high side, but nothing too outrageous. Prices will vary widely depending on location, but here in Kentucky I've seen small Blizzards run anywhere from $2.29 to $2.49, and each size going up twenty to forty cents; so rounding out to the large Blizzard, you'll pay anywhere fromm $2.99 to $3.49.
Most royal treats on the ice cream menu will run you anywhere from $2.69 to $3.09, unless you get packages of fudge bars or sugarless bars, which run anywhere from $6.50 to $8.00.
Dilly bars range from .89 cents to $1.09, and the Star Kiss bars and DQ Sandwiches run about the same.
As always, as this information gets outdated, prices will increase gradually over time.
Service can vary wildly, depending upon what time you decide to stop by, or who is working when you do stop in. There can be snotty teenagers working front line, there may be a manager up front. While you may not see them, however, managers are ALWAYS on duty while the store is open--and on most occasions, there are two managers; one to assist on front line, and one to help in the back.
Service is usually fairly fast, unless something happens to your order (i.e.--we dropped something on the floor and had to make a fresh one--we didn't have fries down because it was so busy--the cooks in the back get behind--drive through is backed up--we had a major spill in the floor and couldn't get around it) you get the picture. It would be best to be patient with the workers, as most of them are teenagers and are not perfect. If a worker is trying to get his order to you and communicating to you, you should not be cranky and agitated wanting to get home as fast as possible.
One thing that agitates me more than anything else is a customer in a hurry. Don't expect to get fast food when it's busy--it takes time to prepare fresh, hot fries, and your food will not arrive at the snap of a finger. Be patient and we will get to you as soon as possible. If you see drive through is clogged, you would be much better off going inside to get your food. Believe it or not, walk-in is probably quicker than driving through at peak hours.
Politeness and friendliness is always the best way to go, and it not only helps you, it helps us to try and stay calm when it's extremely busy.
Dairy Queen as a restaurant is good, but not great; their food selection is vast, but can vary widely depending upon which store you go to. Since many Dairy Queens in my area are locally owned, you can't expect any one item to be available at any one time, and this is a downside. Most fast food restaurants have a solid product line--Dairy Queen's is constantly changing.
The service can also swerve from very good to very poor in just a few minutes notice, depending upon traffic flow and customer purchases. If it's busy, be advised it's not best to go through drive through, unless its close to being empty (or you're a really patient person).
Dairy Queen's indoor atmosphere is usually pretty quiet, with country music (at least in DQs here) playing in the background, and a general country feel to the whole restaurant. Sometimes the patio and bathrooms can be dirty during peak times--but usually aren't too bad unless a pack of kids from the ballpark and or/church (or both at the same time..oy vey) come in. It will vary depending upon when you visit. Again, COME WHEN IT'S NOT QUITE SO BUSY, you'll do much better.
I like Dairy Queen's food and atmosphere, but with so much difference and undependability; I wouldn't eat here very often, unless I was stopping by for an ice-cream treat or a quick walk-in hamburger. The food is good, service varies, and the prices also vary.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. But oh yeah, remember....don't visit when it's really busy.
I recommend it, but with caution.