14 Pros and Cons of Working for Dairy Queen

While America was deep in The Great Depression, John Fremont McCullough and his son brought an idea to life.

The creation of soft-serve ice cream was literally an immediate hit.

On its debut, the sweet treat sold over 1,600 servings. 

By 1940, the duo opened the very first Dairy Queen in Illinois, about an hour outside of Chicago.

A decade later, there were almost 1,500 stores producing endless amounts of vanilla cones for customers daily. 

Today, the ice cream giant brings in about $4 billion annually in the US alone.

In total, there are about 11,000 locations around the world.

Get your spoon ready, we’re going to go through the pros and cons of calling Dairy Queen your work home.

Pros of Working for Dairy Queen

1. Free Food

Free food has been a motivator of the masses probably since the invention of cooking.

The cool thing about Dairy Queen is you have access to not only savory foods but icy treats as well. 

Since you work behind the counter, customization is the name of the game.

Cook whatever you like any way you like with no smack talk from the kitchen or a special order.

Employees get free meals while on the clock and many locations also offer a 50% discount when ordering at any other time. 

Especially in a time of inflation, that is a huge perk.

2. Casual Work Attire

At many locations, the only mandatory uniform items are a t-shirt and a visor.

That gives employees the freedom to personalize their professional DQ look.

Many take to wearing jeans and tennis shoes behind the counter. 

In addition to clothing, things like tattoos and brightly colored hair are also acceptable. 

Not having to shell out portions of each paycheck towards business attire is nice.

It’s also a big benefit to be comfortable on the job, particularly in a job that requires being on your feet all day.

3. Relaxed Atmosphere

When it comes to fast food, there’s no time to be uptight or strictly hovered over.

There are moments when things are super slow as well as high-intensity rushes.

The people you work with and the responsibilities need to be on a more chill basis.

Bonding happens over the dead moments, so when the customers start piling in, you have a rapport with the other staff.

That extends to the management as well.

During downtimes, everyone can lighten up a bit and work together more during various responsibilities. 

4. Flexible Schedules

There are many reasons to need a little wiggle room in your day.

Dairy Queen is a great place to be able to get hours when you need them and not when they are dictated to you.

That is, of course, unless you have an open schedule and are looking to take in as many hours as possible.

Having access to overtime or even more hours than usual is a bonus.

The same can be said for needing fewer hours.

There is no formal 9 to 5 schedule to adhere to since operating hours are much wider than that.

Obtaining power over a schedule can be empowering and so very useful. 

5. Creative Outlet

Dairy Queen is unique in that they offer ice cream in addition to dishes like burgers and chicken.

While the latter doesn’t offer a whole lot of creative license, ice cream can.

Cones are dipped by hand and sundaes are put together on the spot.

Ice cream cakes are also made in advance and by special request.

If you think you might be interested in a culinary career, DQ is where a portfolio can be started.

Here, you can learn how to put together a cake, get familiar with new tools, and learn handwriting with icing as well as gel.

6. Cross Training

In addition to having a creative outlet, there are multiple areas of the restaurant you can learn. 

As mentioned, putting together things like cakes and dilly bars is an entire skill set of transferrable skills.

Working in the kitchen has the same benefit.

There you’ll learn how to prepare grilled and fried chicken, beef patties, salads, hot dogs, and an assortment of fried snacks.

Let’s not forget, depending on the location, you can also learn how to make blended drinks, ice-based drinks, and smoothies.

Technically, after some time, you can take these behind-the-scenes skills and further a culinary or bakery position elsewhere.

7. Customer Service Skills

Perhaps the skill you’ll get the most mileage out of after leaving Dairy Queen is customer service.

Preparing a range of orders is one thing, but dealing with the customer is a whole other ball game.

There are multiple areas where you can hone your customer service knowledge.

The point of sale is the most obvious place to do so.

That can happen at the front counter or at the drive-thru.

Customers with complaints will always arise, which will teach you conflict resolution and patience. 

Cons of Working for Dairy Queen

1. Low Pay

It’s no secret that working in fast food isn’t how you bring home the big bucks.

However, Dairy Queen most definitely is on the lower end of the market when it comes to employee pay.

Perhaps it’s due to such a condensed menu where half the items are pretty cheap.

Maybe it’s because too much money is being funneled back to corporate.

It may even be related to stingy franchise owners.

Whatever the reason, it’s not a way to keep employees long-term.

2. Lack of Benefits

Being on your feet all day takes a lot out of you.

Wouldn’t it be great to accrue enough time to just take a week off and go somewhere relaxing?

It would, but it likely won’t happen while working at DQ.

Another thing fast food establishments aren’t known for are benefits, such as health or vacation days.

3. No Idea Recognition

At any time, employees have a plethora of flavors available to them.

The ice cream creations are endless.

As mentioned, having fun making new desserts is something anyone can do.

Aside from cleaning, that’s what downtime is all about, right?

Coming up with a unique item that isn’t on the menu might make you want to share how inventive it is with higher-ups.

Don’t bother.

An idea picked to be promoted or added to the menu won’t reap any rewards.

Not even a mention, maybe not even a thanks.

4. Customers

Despite working on your customer service skills, the customers themselves are often a handful.

This can be said of any position that is public-facing, really.

It seems to be doubly so when it comes to products such as food and clothing, however. 

Drive-thru speakers are notoriously difficult to hear from, especially when many years have passed since any upkeep has been done. 

Cash registers are often slow and come with many buttons, which can slow down and complicate the ordering process.

Sometimes products are out of stock.

Other times, the restaurant is understaffed and things are only trickling out of the kitchen.

Even though those things aren’t the employee’s fault, customers take it out on them. 

5. Wildly Variant Work Paces

Between the hours of 11 am and 2 pm, the lunch rush can be so intense you forget to breathe between orders. 

Between 2 pm and 5 pm, you might be counting ceiling tiles.

Fast food work is a roller-coaster ride most days, from start to finish. 

6. No Growth

There’s a reason most people don’t stay in fast food for long.

Okay, there are actually several reasons, but one of those is the inability to move up.

Most upper management and corporate types are outside hires.

The vast majority of employees are at the registers and in the kitchens.

7. Lazy Management

The little bit of moving up some employees get to do often brings out the worst in them.

Managers remove themselves from the fast-paced life of being behind the counter and focus on other tasks.

That often includes even when the front end needs help. 

It’s easy to stash yourself away in the back office and pretend not to hear the cries of your staff and then blame it on unimportant tasks.

14 Pros and Cons of Working for Dairy Queen – Summary Table

Pros of Working for Dairy QueenCons of Working for Dairy Queen
1. Free Food1. Low Pay
2. Casual Work Attire2. Lack of Benefits
3. Relaxed Atmosphere3. No Idea Recognition
4. Flexible Schedules4. Customers
5. Creative Outlet5. Wildly Variant Work Paces
6. Cross Training6. No Growth
7. Customer Service Skills7. Lazy Management

Should You Work for Dairy Queen?

Depending on where you’re at in life, Dairy Queen might be exactly the kind of employment you need.

Flexible schedules are great for students or anyone who needs very specific hours.

It’s also great for someone who just needs some money but not necessarily providing for an entire household.

Getting hired at the corporate level is much more of a challenge, but would be a financially viable career move. 

It’s more common for Dairy Queen employees to use the time as a way to gain work experience that can be applied to different companies later on. 

Before accepting any position, be sure to analyze your needs and career goals. 

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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