Loyal customers of popular fast-food chains Sonic and Burger King will now be able to order beer or wine to wash down burgers and fries.
Later this summer, Sonic—a drive-through eatery— will sell alcohol at two locations in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, according to USA Today. Patrons will be able to choose from three types of draft beer, 25 varieties of bottled beer and 10 types of wine, according to Drew Ritger, Sonic senior vice president for business planning and purchasing.
“We look at this as an opportunity to drive evening business in the market,” Ritger said.
Burger King recently opened “Whopper Bars” in Miami, Las Vegas and Kansas City, Mo. where patrons could buy beer.
Any fast-food restaurant’s move toward selling alcohol may be a way to boost sales and compete with casual dining, said Ron Paul, president of a restaurant consulting firm Technomic.
“For consumers, it’s basically about having it your way—even if it’s having a beer with your burger,” Paul told USA Today.
But the convenience of having a quick beer with the traditional hamburger and fries draws critics, who said that fast-food joints are sending a wrong message.
“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,” said Christopher Mullen, dean at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration.
“Fast food plus fast alcohol equals fast drunks,” Michele Simon of watchdog group Marin Institute told USA Today.
Four Starbucks in Seattle sell beer and a fifth will sell alcohol in September—beer goes for $5 and a glass could cost up to $9. In Singapore, Venezuela and Spain, Burger King Whopper Bars already exist.
According to London news agency The Independent, fast-food chains in Europe have been selling beer since the 1970s. In 1971, the first McDonald’s opened in Munich, Germany and was the first chain to sell beer.