How Serious Is Dairy Queen's Blizzard Upside-Down Policy?

If you can't decide between ice cream and a milkshake, there is a solution — the Dairy Queen Blizzard. This frozen cup of soft serve with various mixins is made of 5% butterfat. This gives Dairy Queen's soft serve an airy quality and makes it weigh less than regular ice cream.

In 2015, Dairy Queen showcased these characteristics with a Blizzard promotion that turned the frozen treat on its head. Employees were instructed to serve Blizzards upside down, or they were free. They were able to do this because of the weight, texture, and composition of the Blizzard. While this rule only applied to participating locations, many stores adopted the policy permanently. If you're looking to test it out, you'll have to check out your local Dairy Queen to see if they'll play along.

This all got started with DQ franchise owner Samuel Temperato. He was inspired by an ice cream shop owner in Chippewa, Wisconsin, who told a customer wanting an extra thick shake that it would be on the house if it stayed in the cup when flipped upside down. The shake stood up to the test, and Temperato brought Blizzards to the menu in 1985. Today, they're a DQ staple.

Participating locations follow the rules

Dairy Queen first opened its doors to customers in 1940, but Blizzards didn't make it onto the menu for another 45 years. A full 30 years after the introduction of the Blizzard, the chain paid homage to Blizzard's origin story with a promotion that required employees to serve the frozen treats upside down, lest the customer get it for free.

When the promotion launched, franchise owners could choose whether they wanted to participate. That freedom is still in place today. According to Dairy Queen's website, which doesn't reference the Blizzard policy specifically, it's entirely up to the franchise owner's discretion.

A Reddit thread about this topic indicates that participating locations do, indeed, enforce this rule pretty strictly. One DQ employee who lives in Canada wrote "says right on the signage, 'Served upside down or the next one is free.' We flip every blizzard in store and at least one per car in the [drive-thru]." A different commenter wrote that their store doesn't participate in the promotion so they're not required to flip their Blizzards upside down.

The Blizzard flip has become as synonymous with the brand as Dairy Queen's most popular blizzard flavors. Some customers expect to see the flip performed during the transaction. The original poster of the Reddit thread, who was a DQ employee, wrote "...we had a good amount of anger from people not accepting the fact that we don't do it..."