Monday, July 11, 2011

Fast Food Chains Burger King and Sonic To Offer Alcoholic Drinks

Some fast-food chains are now offering options beyond burgers, salads, and soft drinks. In some locations, customers will soon be able to get an adult beverage with their meals.

Burger King recently opened "Whopper Bars" in Miami, Las Vegas, and Kansas City. Beginning this summer, Sonic will offer beer and wine at new locations in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Rev. Mark Creech is executive director of the Christian Action League and president-elect of the American Council on Alcohol Problems. He believes this is an irresponsible decision that goes against the whole concept of fast-food restaurants.

"Fast-food restaurants have long been about providing families with quick and inexpensive food in a family-friendly environment," he notes, adding that "alcohol always has considerable potential for diminishing that kind of atmosphere."

Creech mentions Chuck E. Cheese's as one example. The pizza party chain, which is geared toward children, voluntarily stopped serving alcohol in Milwaukee after the city requested its beer and wine license be revoked because of repeated problems. Chuck E. Cheese's also took alcohol off its menu in Flint, Michigan, after a fight of more than 80 people.

"We also know that the best studies done of late reveal that underage drinking is the number-one drug problem among our nation's youth," the reverend notes. "And the more alcohol ads adolescents are exposed to, the more they drink."

A spokesman for Sonic tells USA Today that the chain has no plans to expand alcohol sales outside of South Florida and that the Miami location will only serve alcohol to customers eating on the patio. Further, the Fort Lauderdale location will only serve beer and wine inside. Even so, Creech says, "You still have the same opportunity for problems."

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