Friday, July 8, 2011

Treatment Solutions Network Articles: Beer with Your Burger

Treatment Solutions Network Articles: Beer with Your Burger

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Beer with Your Burger

Posted: 08 Jul 2011 02:42 PM PDT

A new trend is spreading across certain parts of the country that is causing some concern. It is a trend that some people are dubbing “fast liquor”.

Certain fast food chains are now offering alcohol on their menu. Burger King has opened up “Whopper Bars” in Kansas City, Miami, and Las Vegas. Starbucks has begun offering regional wine and beer in its Seattle stores. Sonic has begun selling beer and wine in its Florida restaurants. While some people call it a brave marketing move, others think it is just plain dangerous.

Boosting Profits

In a society where marketing techniques have to be both innovative and bold, these fast food chains are just trying to make a profit. Ron Paul, president of a restaurant industry consulting firm, knows how consumers drive the market, "For consumers, it's basically about having it your way — even if it's having a beer with your burger." (1) Senior Vice President of business analysis at Sonic, Drew Ritger, admits that the fast food chains are trying to drum up business during slow hours, as he told USA Today; “We look at this as an opportunity to drive evening business in this market.” (1)

Easy Access to Alcohol

Many others disagree with these practices. They argue that selling alcohol at fast food chains will only create easier access to a substance that causes enough problems already. “Fast food plus fast alcohol equals fast drunks," said Michele Simon of the Marin Institute, an organization dedicated to monitoring the alcohol industry.  While the restaurants have made it clear that they will not sell alcohol through the drive through, the logistics of the practice still seem complicated. It will be more difficult to regulate the sale of alcohol, and people are worried that it will more easily get into the hands of minors and of drivers. Christopher Mullen, Dean at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration sums it up; "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." (2)

The idea of alcohol at fast food restaurants is not a new one. It is a common practice among chains overseas, including McDonald’s. But in many of these countries, drinking alcohol during lunch or the middle of the day is acceptable, while in the United States, many of the people looking for alcohol in the middle of the day may already have a drinking problem.

Ultimately, people are responsible for their own actions. If someone is going to go to a fast food restaurant with their kids, load up on beer, and then drive home, they can only blame themselves. However, we don’t need to encourage anyone to drink, especially by making alcohol readily available at fast food restaurants.


(1) Mixed Reactions To Selling Alcohol in Fast Food Restaurants 

(2) Burger King And Other Fast Food Giants Offer Beer Hoping To Attract Late-Night Customers

Alcohol at fast-food restaurants a bad idea

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