Pairing fast food with an alcoholic drink seems like a no-brainer. Burgers and beer are a timeless combo, and fast food is the ultimate drunk food. Oddly enough, however, the vast majority of fast food chains — in America, at least — don’t sell alcohol. Some do, however, and certain locations of the big guys do as well. If you want to down a beer with your fast food burger, you just need to know where to look.
Until recently, many fast food restaurants wouldn’t have even considered adding beer, wine, or cocktails to their menus. Maintaining a kid- and family-friendly image and not wanting to deal with local alcohol laws (or rowdy drinks) have traditionally outweighed any desire to get into the alcohol game. Recently, though, that game has changed, largely thanks to the emergence of the fast-casual concept as well as a never-ending quest for profit.
Adding alcohol to fast food menus is still very much at an experimental stage, and not all of the experiments have worked. An Indiana White Castle made national news in 2011 when it started selling wine and beer, but the practice was abandoned after two years. “It just didn’t work out,” a rep from the restaurant told us when asked why they stopped. And chains like Baja Fresh and Qdoba, which once offered alcohol, don't seem to any longer.
But even though one-off experiments may have failed in the past, alcohol is slowly beginning to work its way into the fast food industry, mostly in fast food brands’ efforts to jump on the fast-casual bandwagon through their own extensions. Selling alcohol equates to more revenue, and the prospect of being able to buy a beer may lure in diners who are looking for a sit-down dining experience but aren’t willing to pay restaurant prices, Business Insider explains.
So read on to learn which nine major fast food brands are trying out alcohol sales. Believe it or not, only a couple of major chains sell alcohol across all their U.S. locations, and the vast majority only sell it at a handful of locations, or only at their fast-casual extensions. So if you’re looking to drink a beer at any of these chains, make sure you call ahead to find out if they’re selling it or not. But if these experiments are successful, expect to see alcohol coming to a fast food chain near you soon.
Burger King Whopper Bar
Photo Modified: Flickr / Phillip Pessar / CC BY 4.0
Photo Modified: Flickr / tales of a wandering youkai / CC BY 4.0