In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Ferengi Quark quickly became a fan-favorite character in large part because he contrasted against the Starfleet types in an entertaining way. While Starfleet is driven by noble motives, Quark simply wants to make cold, hard cash (it doesn’t get colder than latinum), which is why we see him constantly worrying over the profits of his humble bar on the station.
Later Trek makes it clear that Quark achieved massive success after the DS9 finale, and we decided to figure out just how many businesses this famous Ferengi actually owns in this Paramount franchise.
Quark and Deep Space Nine
We get our greatest look at this character in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and that show also gave us a prolonged look at the Ferengi’s most prized possession, Quark’s Bar. Strictly speaking, this business has a much longer name: Quark’s Bar, Grill, Gaming House, and Holosuite Arcade. However, much like with named establishments in the real world, patrons around the station simply refer to it as “Quark’s” instead.
On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Quark’s primary customers are the Starfleet officers serving aboard the station as well as the Bajorans and other aliens who call the station their home. However, Quark’s first big business actually precedes Starfleet and the Bajorans coming to the station. The ambitious Ferengi was actually running this establishment back in the days of the Cardassian occupation, though Quark wasn’t very fond of the Cardassians’ authoritarian rule.
While he had many schemes over the years to become rich and successful, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ended with Quark having the same business prospects that he had at the beginning of the show. His brother had gone on to become the Grand Nagus (the highest position in Ferengi society), but Quark was still the not-so-humble proprietor of Quark’s. However, later, Star Trek shows indicated that somewhere along the way, Quark finally realized his wildest entrepreneurial ambitions.
Later Star Trek series revealed Quark’s success with the greatest tool of capitalism: franchising.
The biggest early indicator of this occurred in the first season of Star Trek: Picard. In the episode “Stardust City Rag,” we see that Quark has effectively franchised his famous bar and that a Quark’s could be found on the planet Freecloud. Later episodes of Lower Decks would specify that the Ferengi was even more successful than anyone could have imagined: in fact, he has 21 different Quark franchises located at various planets and even starbases across the Alpha Quadrant.
That would have been impressive enough on its own, but Star Trek: Lower Decks continued to flex just how successful Quark’s businesses have been. In addition to the aforementioned Quark’s franchises, the episode “Hear All, Trust Nothing” shows that the savvy Ferengi also runs a series of smaller businesses under the Quark’s Express name. He also shamelessly added a gift shop to the original Quark’s on DS9 that sold merchandise based on his appearance, and patrons can buy these items using “Quark Bucks” rather than the usual gold-pressed platinum.
While later Star Trek has mostly shown Quark relying on establishments similar to his original bar, Lower Decks also showed us that he sold a line of intricately detailed Starfleet model ships and figurines in “An Embarrassment Of Dooplers.” Predictably, we see Ensigns Tendi and Rutherford geeking out over building one of these things, but what makes it really fun is that they are basically audience surrogates for the fans.
Quark has always been portrayed as the ultimate space capitalist, and it looks like he found a way to make a tidy profit by catering to nostalgic Starfleet officers.
Star Trek: Lower Decks revealed Quark has expanded even further, adding replica figures and ships to his business portfolio.
Then again, maybe Quark just learned from Paramount, a studio that managed to build an empire by catering to fans with an ever-growing array of replica figures, ships, and so much more. Given the comparison, we think it’s only a matter of time before Quark tries to get characters like Boimler addicted to a “ship of the month” subscription service.
Until then, we just have one question for the veteran businessman: are the Vulcan Love Slave holodeck programs available at all Quark’s franchises, or do we have to travel to Deep Space Nine to check them out?