The restaurant known for its ice-cream desserts opened in December in the Caribbean nation’s capital city of Port of Spain, three decades after Dairy Queen shuttered operations there as trade laws restricted imports from the U.S., said Justin Holtkamp, vice president of international marketing. He said the franchisee is the son of the original owners.
“Mom and dad owned the first Dairy Queen,” Holtkamp said in a phone interview. “Their son brought it back” after trade laws loosened in recent years. Holtkamp didn’t identify him.
Dairy Queen, which also sells hamburgers and soft drinks, has more than 1,000 stores outside the U.S. and Canada. It opened its 500th restaurant in China last year and has more than 270 in Thailand. The company has expanded in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Guatemala and Singapore.
The franchisee in Trinidad has exclusive rights to all future Dairy Queens there, Holtkamp said. Three more locations will open in Trinidad over the next few months, the Minneapolis- based company said yesterday in a statement.
Trinidad and Tobago lies off the coast of Venezuela and has a population of about 1.3 million. Economic reform and the “liberalization” of trade and investment regulations have encouraged foreign investment in the island nation, according to a 2012 report from the U.S. State Department.