Dairy Queen

The beloved, fast-casual restaurant chain partners with Hathway to create a customized order-ahead, deals, and rewards app that delivers on their company motto “Happy Tastes Good”.

For more than 60 years, Dairy Queen’s recipe for success has been simple—a combination of great-tasting food and tempting treats served in a family friendly establishment. Today, the Berkshire Hathaway owned company is one of the largest quick-service systems in the world with more than 5,900 restaurants in the United States, Canada, and 20 foreign countries. To compete with similar restaurants and give franchisees the ability to improve their online sales, Dairy Queen partnered with Hathway to design and develop a totally custom order-ahead, loyalty, and deals app.

The Strategy

During the strategy phase, we gathered detailed insights via customer surveys, franchise owners, and project stakeholders to shape the DQ fan experience strategy. Our team also created journey maps based on key customer profiles that simplified path-to-purchase and shortened time-to-task at key moments in the customer lifecycle.

We applied a number of strategies to help solve for the slow rollout challenge we faced including an innovative “Universal Deals” feature that allows basic deal redemption at all stores prior to full integrated technology program (ITP) rollout. This allowed all users to enjoy basic app functionality and non-ITP stores saw instant value from the app. To address the issue of order-ahead for fast-melting products, we worked with Olo to create a workflow that sends a geofenced notification to the DQ kitchen upon arrival to fire the order.

Our experience design team created the UX and UI flows across various mobile platforms, working closely with DQ, Olo and Brink to organize the digital menu for optimal commerce conversion and ease of combination building. For the new loyalty portion of the app, we used best-practice game theories that centered on incentivizing repeat app usages based on a rewards points program. We also incentivized fans to quickly save their favorite location which allows DQ to send targeted promotions while streamlining the app experience to be focused on Universal Deals.


In May of 2018, Dairy Queen proudly launched its new mobile apps and deployed its first ITP stores with immediate success. Downloads in the initial few months numbered in the millions with App Store ratings now exceeding four stars.

Since launch, the entire team has worked together to roll out ITP across more stores, scale out online ordering, and drive traffic through loyalty, rewards, and innovative mobile-first marketing campaigns. Hathway is still engaged with DQ as a digital growth partner, providing ongoing app optimizations, data analysis and digital marketing support across award-winning campaigns.


  • CRM strategy
  • Email development
  • Customer experience strategy
  • Product strategy and planning
  • Ecosystem strategy
  • Customer journey mapping
  • Android and iOS app development
  • NomNom™ experience platform integration
  • Order ahead integration (Olo)
  • Loyalty program integration (Punchh)
  • Cloud-based POS integration (Brink)
  • User testing and validation
  • UX/UI strategy and design
  • POS integration


Partner Logo
Partner Logo