Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sonic, Burger King, other fast-food chains selling alcohol

By Bruce Horowitz :: USA Today :: June 30, 2011

The trip to the fast-food joint that was once all about burgers and fries is increasingly about something that could require you to flash your ID: beer and wine.

In a bid to boost business, two Sonic restaurants in South Florida soon will sell beer and wine. The move follows Burger King "Whopper Bars" recently opened in Miami, Las Vegas and Kansas City that sell beer. Starbucks recently began to serve local beer and wine in a handful of Seattle stores.

In a tough economy, the move towards alcohol is a way to compete with casual dining — and can help boost typically slow evening business, says Ron Paul, president at Technomic, a restaurant consulting firm. "For consumers, it's basically about having it your way — even if it's having a beer with your burger."

But the trend has critics .

"Fast food plus fast alcohol equals fast drunks," warns Michele Simon, research and policy director at the Marin Institute, an alcohol industry watchdog group.

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