Would you like a beer with your whopper meal?
Fast food restaurants like Burger King and Sonic and coffee powerhouse Starbucks are trying to boost sales during slow business hours by experimenting with sales of alcohol along with their standard offering.
Burger King recently opened “Whopper Bars” in six U.S. locations including Memphis, Las Vegas and New York, as well as three international locations including Venezuela and Singapore. The bars sell beer for about $4.25 a bottle.
Starbucks has begun selling local beer for about $5 a bottle and wine for up to $9 a glass in some Seattle stores.
Of course alcohol and fast food have often gone together, and not always in a good way, as the marketers at Jack in the Box are well aware. One of the fast-food chain’s latest edgy commercials points out that drunks tend to order a lot of fast food late at night.
“Fast food plus fast alcohol equals fast drunks,” Michele Simon, a research and policy director at an alcohol industry watchdog group, told USA Today.
The Jack in the Box commercial is careful to explain that the drunks in question used a designated driver, but the combination of raises concerns among others.
“You don’t want someone downing a quick beer, then getting into their cars and driving off,” said Christopher Muller, dean at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration.
Sonic, known as America’s Drive-In restaurant, says it will not sell its 25 kinds of bottled beer and 10 wine varieties to customers who are driving. Rather, they will have to sit on the patio to enjoy the drinks.