Crossing the line again: Burger King and beer

By: American Decency Staff

In recent years Burger King has pushed the envelope with their advertising. Several ad campaigns have featured crudity and lewd sexual innuendo. Now Burger King is crossing the line again. Not with their advertising but with their product. Burger King, the drive-thru destination of millions of families (remember when “kids were kingâ€Â and wore their cardboard crown?), now has plans to sell beer at a new Burger King establishment in South Beach, Florida – called a “Whopper Bar.â€Â A move, common sense would say, is irresponsible. Burger King’s own website, however, states: “The better job we do at being responsible today, the better our business will be in the future.â€Â And, a message posted from BK Chairman & CEO John Chidsey makes this commitment: “…As a corporation, we define corporate responsibility as looking beyond a strong bottom line to consider the impact of everything we do. It’s about doing the right thing as a corporate citizen …â€Â It seems Burger King should look more closely at the “impactâ€Â of mixing alcohol with fast food. One of the major selling points of fast food is the convenience of eating on the go. Is this a good mix – drivers stopping to pick up a Whopper combo with beer for the road? And think of the seemingly easy abuse of drinking age laws. The report below states that “Burger King is chasing the 30-and-under crowd.â€Â Is this the age group we should be offering alcohol along with fast food? While Burger King says it has no plans to open up the tap in their “conventionalâ€Â restaurants at this time – they do say they may open other such “Whopper Barsâ€Â in certain areas. Think of the precedence this is setting for other fast-food chains. Will they feel pressure to follow suit? Burger King should re-think what “doing the right thing as a corporate citizenâ€Â means – and it certainly isn’t mixing fast food burgers with booze. ***************** Burger King plans beer-selling Whopper Bar in South Beach By Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY Gimme a Whopper, fries — and a beer. Those words are no longer wishful thinking. Friday, Burger King (BKC) will unveil plans to sell beer and burgers at a Whopper Bar — a new BK concept to compete with casual dining restaurants — in Miami Beach's tourist-heavy South Beach. The South Beach Whopper Bar is scheduled to open in mid-February. Don't look for beer at conventional Burger Kings. That's not in the plans. But more Whopper Bars — which offer an assortment of burgers, toppings and beer — could be on tap in tourist hot spots such as New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, says Chuck Fallon, president of Burger King North America. A brewski at the new Whopper Bar — served in special aluminum bottles to keep them extra cold — fetches $4.25. Or, order beer as part of a Whopper combo and your bill will be $7.99 — roughly $2 more than the same combo meal with a fountain drink. The unusual move comes as the restaurant industry is reeling. Restaurant operators reported lower same-store sales in November, compared with a year earlier, for the 18th-consecutive month, the National Restaurant Association reports. Nearly 65% of operators reported a same-store sales decline in November. December results were unavailable. Burger King's Whopper Bar isn't the first fast-food chain to test alcoholic beverages domestically. Last year in Seattle, Starbucks opened "15th Avenue Coffee and Tea, inspired by Starbucks." Beyond coffee and tea, it sells regional beers and wines. By trying to wedge into the fast-casual dining arena with Whopper Bar, Burger King is chasing the 30-and-under crowd, which is the industry's future growth, says Bradford Hudson, marketing professor at Boston University. But the move is very tricky, he says, because "Burger King means fast food." But Linda Lipsky, a restaurant consultant, says the move makes sense. "The Burger King customer is aging, so they're just trying to grow up with the customer." The restaurant will initially sell Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors beers. "You can have America's favorite beers with America's favorite burger," Fallon says. More will eventually be added, he says. But Lipsky says the chain will be challenged to train staff to legally sell and serve alcohol. "You can be an easy mark if you're not used to selling alcohol," she says. Burger Kings in Germany and Whopper Bars in Singapore and Venezuela sell beer. But this will be the first BK brand in the USA to sell beer. (A Whopper Bar in Universal City does not sell beer.) "We're in the midst of understanding how much beer will be a part of the (sales pitch)," Fallon says. The restaurant also will offer delivery of all items — except beer. ************* Contact Burg King and express your concern: Burger King Holdings, Inc. John W. Chidsey – CEO 5505 Blue Lagoon Drive Miami FL 33126 Phone: 305-378-3000 Fax: 305-378-7262 Email: To make a donation: American Decency Association P.O. Box 202 Fremont MI 49412 American Decency Association is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. American Decency Association Bill Johnson, President P.O. Box 202 Fremont, MI 49412 ph: 231-924-4050

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