Having it your way will no longer be an option for many families
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
Just months after Burger King vowed to advertise only healthy meals to children, the world’s second-largest fast food hamburger chain plans to offer their parents beer.
First targeting tourist hot spots, like Miami’s South Beach, the company plans a number of “Whopper Bars,” where customers can order their burger and then choose from more than 20 toppings displayed cafeteria-style before popping the cap on their beer. The restaurant will start with domestic brands like Budweiser and Miller with Chuck Fallon, BK’s North America president, touting “America’s favorite beers with America’s favorite burger.”
But what about America’s families?
“There’s already enough trouble without Burger King selling beer,” New Yorker Arnold Lyons told the NY Daily News. “You don’t take your kids to a bar.”
The Christian Action League plans to send a letter to Burger King Corporate urging the company to reconsider its decision and remain a family-friendly restaurant.
“Selling alcohol goes against the whole concept of fast food restaurants which have long been about providing families with quick and relatively inexpensive food in a friendly environment,” Creech said. “Putting alcohol in the mix will drive many families away altogether and put others at greater risks, not to mention increasing the teen workers’ exposure to alcohol.”
In North Carolina, as in many states, restaurant employees must be 18 or older before they can legally prepare, sell, serve or deliver alcoholic beverages. Burger King employs more than a few teen-age workers who would be put in the path of alcohol promotions if beer is sold.
Burger King may also want to consider what effect the sales would have on the atmosphere in their dining rooms. A look at problems at Chuck E. Cheese can tell the tale.
Promoting itself as a place “where a kid can be a kid,” the pizza and game parlor has a reputation for fights among patrons, especially at those locations where beer and wine are sold. According to a December 2008 Wall Street Journal report, “law enforcment officials say alcohol, loud noise, thick crowds and the high emotions of children’s birthday parties make the restaurants more prone to disputes than other family entertainment venues.”
In Milwaukee, officials called for the removal of the restaurant’s beer and wine license in 2006 after police and customers reported repeated problems. Chuck E. Cheese voluntarily stopped serving alcohol there to help reduce fighting and also took it off the menu in Flint, Mich., after a brawl involving as many as 80 people, the Wall Street Journal reported. Similar incidents brought an end to beer sales at a Chuck E. Cheese in Brookefield, Wisc., in 2008.
“Admittedly, Chuck E. Cheese has a different format with customers spending more time in the arcade setting, but many Burger Kings offer play areas to keep kids busy while their parents eat — or if alcohol is available — drink,” Creech said. “We can look for many of these same problems wherever beer is on the menu. ‘Have it your way’ is no longer an option where families cannot choose to dine without being surrounded by alcohol.”