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Druther's Restaurant
FormerlyBurger Queen (1956–1981)
Company typePrivate
IndustryFast-food restaurants
Founded1956; 68 years ago (1956) as Burger Queen[1] in Winter Haven, Florida
FoundersHarold and Helen Kite
Defunct1991; 33 years ago (1991) (as chain)
FateCompany became a Dairy Queen franchisee (but a former Druther's franchise still remains)
SuccessorDairy Queen
HeadquartersLouisville, Kentucky, U.S
Number of locations
  • 171 (1981)
  • 145 (1990)
  • 3 (2019)
  • 1 (2024)
Area served
  • United States, England, Canada, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates (1981)
  • Kentucky and surrounding states (1990)
  • Kentucky (2024)
Key people
Harold Kite, Helen Kite, Jim Gannon, George Clark, John Clark, Tom Hensley, Bob Gatewood, Mike Kull, Steve McCarty
  • Burger Queen Enterprises Inc. (1963–1981)
  • Druther's International Inc. (1981–1991)

Druther's is a restaurant, formerly a chain of fast food restaurants that began as Burger Queen restaurants started in Winter Haven, Florida in 1956, and then based in Louisville, Kentucky from 1963 until 1981. The name was a play on the word "druthers", and the mascot was a giant female bee named Queenie Bee. In 1981, Burger Queen changed to Druther's restaurants, although the changes were mostly cosmetic. One reason given for the name change was to eliminate the perception that they specialized in only hamburgers when they also had fried chicken and a serve-yourself salad bar. Druther's featured a character named "Andy Dandytale" on its kids meal items (and a live-action version in early TV advertising). The chain's slogan was "I'd Ruther Go to Druther's Restaurant." As of April 2024, the company operates 1 location in Kentucky.


Druther's traces its history back to 1956, when Harold and Helen Kite opened the first Burger Queen restaurant in Winter Haven, Florida. In 1961, business partners George Clark and Jim Gannon bought franchise rights and permission to expand the chain to Kentucky.

The Louisville partners James Gannon and brothers George and John Clark eventually bought the Florida-based company.[2] George Clark eventually became CEO while his other partners left the company.

The company opened its 50th location in December 1973 in Danville and had locations in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee at the time of the opening.[3] The store in Tell City, Indiana was the 125th store opened.

In June 1981, Burger Queen Enterprises Inc. announced that it was changing its name to Druther's International Inc. and changing the names of it restaurants from Burger Queen to Druther's Restaurant. Despite the change in names, management and the menu remained the same. At the time of the announcement, the company operated 171 company-owned and franchised locations in seven states within the United States and also had international franchised in England, Canada, the Republic of China, and the United Arab Emirates.[4]

In September 1990, privately owned Druther's International Inc. agreed to become a Territory Operator for Dairy Queen and converted most of its restaurants to the Dairy Queen brand by the end of the first quarter of 1991. At the time of the conversion, Druther's had operated 145 restaurants in Kentucky and surrounding states.[5] Druther's International later renamed itself Druther's Systems Inc. to better fit its new role as a Dairy Queen franchise operator.

In 1996, International Dairy Queen Inc. bought 31 Dairy Queen/Brazier outlets in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana from Druther's Systems Inc. for an undisclosed price.[6]

Former Druther's locations in Louisville, Kentucky currently house other businesses such as a Burger King and a local liquor store called Our Place Liquors. The last operating Druther's, a former franchise, is in Campbellsville, Kentucky.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Menser, Stacey (1 March 2014). "Druther's Corner got its start with Burger Queen". The Times Leader. Retrieved 18 April 2024.
  2. ^ "Breakfast menu boosts Louisville Daiiy Queens". Courier-Journal. November 8, 2000. p. 36 – via Newspapers.com. In 1981 Burger Queen executives Bob Gatewood and Tom Hensley bought the company and converted it to the Druther's concept. "We were struggling as Burger Queen, and we were struggling as Druther's," said Bond, who was a 10-year veteran of the McDonald's chain when he became a Burger Queen manager in 1979... The first Burger Queen store in the Louisville area opened in Middletown in 1963. It was a Florida concept that Louisville partners James Gannon and George and John Clark built up and eventually bought.
  3. ^ "Burger Queen Will Open 50th Store". Advocate-Messenger. December 11, 1973. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com. In 1963, two young Louisville men began a fast food restaurant franchise that has become one of Kentucky's largest fast food restaurant chains. Burger Queen will celebrate the Grand Opening of its 50th store Dec. 15. The two men who started the hamburger chain on its way to becoming the nation's 64th largest food franchisor, were George Clark and Mick Gannon. Mr. Gannon has since retired, leaving the business in the hands of corporation president, George Clark... Burger Queen has expanded store locations beyond Kentucky into Indiana and Tennessee.
  4. ^ "Burger Queen has new name". Seymour Tribune. June 8, 1981. p. 7 – via Newspapers.com. With the changeover of its restaurants from Burger Queen to their, new name, Druther's Restaurant, Burger Queen Enterprises Inc. announced that, its official new corporate name would be Druther's International Inc. The company will continue to be headquartered in Louisville... the new name for the restaurants and for the corporation represented no change in ownership or management. The company is privately held and the same owners and top executives of Burger Queen Enterprises continue on with Druther's International Inc. The company operates 171 fast service restaurants In seven states in the United States. The restaurants are a mix of company owned and franchised restaurants. The company also franchises restaurants in four foreign countries England, Canada, The Republic of China, and the United Arab Emirates.
  5. ^ Berg, Eric N. (November 23, 1990). "Assault on a Queen: Venerable ice-cream chain gears for McCompetition". Courier-Journal. p. 37 – via Newspapers.com. Druther's International Inc., a privately held Louisville restaurant chain that operates 145 restaurants, primarily in small towns in Kentucky and surrounding states. The two companies signed an agreement in September that allows Druther's to be a territory operator of Dairy Queens. Druther's has already converted its restaurants in Fairdale and Taylorsville to Dairy Queens. About 100 Druther's will be remodeled and open as Dairy Queens by March 1, said Mike Kull, Druther's senior executive vice president. Druther's opened its first fast-food restaurant in Middletown in 1963. Last year, the firm had sales of about $95 million.
  6. ^ Fielder, Terry (February 8, 1996). "Dairy Queen buys outlets from Kentucky owner". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Archived from the original on March 12, 2007. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  7. ^ Sigers, Joi (October 22, 2015). "Cambellsville, Kentucky: The Last Druther's Restaurant in Business!". Genuine Kentucky.

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