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article imageFast-food chains to serve alcoholic drinks

By Abigail Prendergast     Jul 4, 2011 in Food
Fast-food outlets such as Burger King and Sonic in a handful of cities is moving towards serving beer and wine. The move is not without controversy, though, and has drawn fire from several critics.
A way to pay for your meal of choice won't be the only thing fast food chains are going to require their patrons to present. Assuming you get the newest addition to the menu, you are going to have to show them something else: your ID card proving that you are at least 21 years old. That's right, certain outlets of popular burger-serving franchises have begun or will begin to sell alcohol. This has been done “in an attempt to boost business,” according to USA Today.
Following suit of Burger King's new “Whopper Bars” - kiosk-style shops with limited versions of the general menu - which now serve beer; Sonic Drive-In will also be testing the spirit waters by including beer and wine to their drink list at two restaurants in South Florida soon. Whopper bars are generally located at places such as malls and airports among other venues that need to be space-savvy. At first Burger King had no intention of including alcohol in North American stores, but it has since had a change of heart. Beer is now sold at the Miami, Las Vegas and Kansas City outlets.
Sonic Drive-In - known simply as Sonic - is a fast food chain centered around the theme of diners from the 1950s.
The coffee connoisseurs at Starbucks also plan to profit off of local beer and wine in a few of their shops in the company's native Seattle.
In a society with an economy that has seen better days, putting alcoholic beverages on the menu is a means to "compete with casual dining - and can boost typically slow evening business," said Ron Paul, president of restaurant consulting Technomic. "For consumers, it's basically about having it your way — even if it's having a beer with your burger."
But of course, with every new trend there seem to be those who want to criticize it.
Michele Simon of the Marin Institute - an alcohol watchdog group - stated "Fast food plus fast alcohol equals fast drunks." to USA Today.
Christopher Muller - dean at the School of Hospitality at the University of Boston - said that  "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."
But apparently Burger King, Sonic and Starbucks are perceiving selling alcoholic drinks as more of an opportunity than a risk.
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