Dairy Queen eyes Jenks location
Residents of Jenks will soon get to experience “happy tastes good” in their hometown, as Dairy Queen plans on opening a location in the community.
Jim Kerr, Executive Vice President of Franchise Development for Dairy Queen, said the company likes what they see in the Tulsa market, especially in Jenks.
“I see the Tulsa market being very similar to the Oklahoma City market,” he said. “I believe we have strong growth that can occur there. We have good markets that we want to go after, but we need to attract strong entrepreneurs, who are quality candidates to be franchisees. We really are interested in those who are from the area, so they can connect with the community and have a higher probability of success.”
Kerr has been with Dairy Queen for 11 years, while the Dairy Queen brand has been around a little more than 80 years. The company celebrated its 80th anniversary in March. He said Jenks has everything they are looking for to open a new restaurant.
“Jenks is one of the trade areas that we have focused on,” he said. “It has a strong population and proximity wise we like that it is close to Oral Roberts University. It also has great proximity to the toll road and the Highway 75 corridor. It is an area positioned well for growth in the Tulsa region. We feel Jenks could be one of the priority targets that could drive additional growth into other parts of Tulsa itself.”
Kerr said Dairy Queen looks at Tulsa as having two levels of geography.
“We think of Tulsa and its suburbs and then look at the media market for Tulsa, which extends all the way south to McAlester and extends to the north all the way to Independence, Kansas. It covers a lot of territory,” he said.
Kerr noted that attractions, such as the Oklahoma Aquarium and the incoming Tulsa Premium Outlets make Jenks even more attractive.
“We want to attract people who don’t just live in that particular area, but those coming into that area for other attractions,” he said.
Kerr added that it is important that they attract strong franchisee prospects and they do not have a location set for Jenks at this time.
“We have quite a few leads coming through our system,” he said. We have inquiries for the Tulsa market. As soon as we have a candidate, who has strong interest and lives in the area, our Franchise Developer Roger Schone will plan and tour with that individual to get it kicked off. We are pretty good once we start focusing on a market to identifying a candidate and moving to real estate right after that.”
Kerr said he would like to see four-to-six new restaurant openings in the Tulsa metropolitan area and four-to-six openings in area more outside of Tulsa. He added Jenks is one of the first locations Dairy Queen would like to see opened but finding the right franchisee prospect is crucial.
“We do look for individuals or a group of individuals that want to work together that have financial strength and management capability,” he said. “We obviously want to find someone who has passion and commitment to our brand. We like to make sure if you have affection to our brand as a consumer, you have affection to our brand as a business leader as well. The other part of it is to have a good connection to the community. That is very important to us.”
When the new restaurants in the Tulsa region do get built, Kerr said they will be the new look Grill and Chill facilities.
“We are in transition to two different types of Grill and Chill’s,” he said. “We are beginning to build something we call our next generation facility. They are the same size as our other facilities. That is the type of facility we are going to build in the Tulsa market.”
Stay up to date with the Jenks Tribune to find out when and where the new Dairy Queen will be completed in the Jenks community.