Burger King, Sonic Add Alcohol to Menus

Burger King, Sonic, and other fast-food chains have gotten into the business of selling booze, according to USA Today.

As a means of competing with casual dining establishments, these franchises have opened up select locations with liquor licenses to give diners the option to buy wine or beer with their meals.

In South Florida, two Sonic restaurants will soon sell beer and wine. Burger King has opened “Whopper Bars” in Miami, Las Vegas, and Kansas city to sell beer along with their burgers. Starbucks has already begun selling local beer and wine at select Seattle stores.

Drew Ritger, SVP of business analysis at Sonic, says his chain has no plans to expand alcohol sales outside of South Florida. In addition, no alcohol will be available to drive-in customers.

"We look at this as an opportunity to drive evening business in this market," he told USA Today.

In a recession, businesses often try to expand their customer base by changing their sales tactics. "For consumers, it's basically about having it your way — even if it's having a beer with your burger,” said Ron Paul, president at Technomic, a restaurant consulting firm.

Some see alarming possibilities in the new trend.

"Fast food plus fast alcohol equals fast drunks," said Michele Simon of the Marin Institute, an alcohol industry watchdog.

"You don't want someone downing a quick beer, then getting into their cars and driving off. It's a delicate balance of risk and reward,” added Christopher Mullen, dean at Boston University's School of Hospitality Administration.

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