The first Dog n Suds was opened in 1953 in Champaign, Illinois, by University of Illinois music teachers James Griggs and Don Hamacher. The chain grew rapidly throughout the 1950s and 1960s, and a training center was established in Champaign, named "Rover College" after the dog on the restaurant signage. At its peak in 1968, the chain had about 650 restaurants. Griggs sold his interest in the business in the early 1970s. The company was sold to Frostie Enterprises in 1974, who owned the Frostie and Stewart's brands of root beer. Frostie later abandoned the franchise business and sold the rights to make Dog-n-Suds branded root beer to the VanDames.
In 1991, Don and Carol VanDame, owners of a Dog n Suds in Lafayette, Indiana, purchased the Dog n Suds trademark and identity rights. In 2001, the VanDames created a new company, TK&C's LLC, to administer licensing rights for the brand.