The relentless competition of the food franchise industry means that businesses will try out nearly everything in search of an edge over everybody else. Surprisingly, one thing few food franchises seem willing to do is sell beer or wine. Why is this?
We put the question out on our Facebook page yesterday after reading an article on the subject in the New York Times. The article looks at the story from the perspective of chains like Starbucks, Sonic and Guy & Gallard, as well as Burger King, who've started selling beer at their new higher-end Whopper Bars.
Despite the potential upsides of selling beer (ie, profit), it seems that food franchises aren't suited to the alcohol trade.
“Fast-food restaurants aren’t set up to be bars,” David Henkes, restaurant advisor, told the New York Times. “Based upon the amount of sales that most restaurants would get from alcohol, it’s just not feasible for most restaurants to do it.”
The challenges range from the practical (policing the bar, the large numbers of underage staff at food franchises) to the financial. In the end of the day, most franchises have decided that selling a bottle of beer or glass of wine simply isn't worth the trouble.
We'll be monitoring the scene, as especially at Whopper Bar, to see if any franchises can buck this trend.