|Dairy Queen is synonymous with summer treats, from soft-serve ice cream to Blizzard frozen desserts.
But the 73-year-old company -- which is owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B -0.10%) -- wants to lure customers with a "5 Buck Lunch," which it thinks will help it "steal share" from other quick-service restaurants, marketing chief Barry Westrum told Nation's Restaurant News.
The chain started developing the idea last summer and offered a limited-time offer in the fall. The permanent rollout will offer a $5 menu between 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provide the choice of a Grillburger with cheese, chicken strips or a chili cheese dog, as well as medium fries, a medium soda and a soft-serve sundae.
Why make the $5 menu a standing offer? Many consumers are still feeling pinched, giving Dairy Queen an opportunity to lure diners away from competitors, Westrum said.
"Even though some might say the recession has improved, the fact is that these improvements just arenít coming fast enough for consumers," he said. Competitors, which Westrum didn't name, "constantly bewilder consumers with inconsistent value offers," he noted.
Dairy Queen has a long way to go to get to the top of the quick-service industry, however. Based on revenue, it ranked as the 16th-largest fast-food chain in 2011, trailing bigger restaurants such as No. 1 McDonald's (MCD -1.01%) and Subway, the runner-up, according to QSR magazine.
But with consumers hit with a payroll tax hike this year and as a result shunning pricier sit-down eateries such as Darden Restaurants' (DRI +1.43%) Red Lobster and Olive Garden, DQ's low-cost lunch might hit the spot.