Burger King to open first "Whopper Bar" - selling burgers & beer.

Unspeaked

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Dec 29, 2003
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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 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.
 

TuffLuffJimmy

macrumors G3
Apr 6, 2007
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Portland, OR
I feel like beer and a whopper really wouldn't go well together, no matter how nice the beer. Fast food and alcohol (among other things) just don't mix.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,641
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Interesting idea, but crappy selection of beer.
If they're only talking about their mass brews, yeah.

Interesting, anyway. Starbucks is trying something similar with this 15th Ave Tea & Coffee place they opened in Seattle, although they seem to be trying much harder to create the right environment.

I think BK's move would make more sense if they had craft beer and more gourmet burgers, but who knows? I don't really eat at Chilli's, but I guess if I did, this might possibly be an enticing alternative.
 

dmr727

macrumors G3
Dec 29, 2007
8,623
25
NYC
I feel like beer and a whopper really wouldn't go well together, no matter how nice the beer. Fast food and alcohol (among other things) just don't mix.
Yeah, I agree with this. However I think fast Mexican can get away with it - there's a fast food chain in Texas called Taco Cabana that serves cheap Mexican beer and margaritas, and it's pretty cool. ;)
 

Lord Blackadder

macrumors G5
May 7, 2004
13,522
2,558
Sod off
BK has discovered a way to make their food even less healthy! :D

The beer won't be anything drinkable, but it's an interesting idea.

Back when I was a Subway employee many moons ago, my boss told me that Subway once used to serve beer early on.
 

TuffLuffJimmy

macrumors G3
Apr 6, 2007
8,989
25
Portland, OR
Yeah, I agree with this. However I think fast Mexican can get away with it - there's a fast food chain in Texas called Taco Cabana that serves cheap Mexican beer and margaritas, and it's pretty cool. ;)
That's true. Baja Fresh serves Corona and that works out pretty well.
 

Unspeaked

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Dec 29, 2003
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The beer might stink, the burgers might be awful but a combo meal of a crappy Whopper, fries and a cold beer for $7.99 will probably sell pretty well in middle America...
 

bobr1952

macrumors 68020
Jan 21, 2008
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Melbourne, FL
Yeah, I have a feeling the beer will be on par with the burger. Now for me the best place for that kind of burger bar is in Germany, can't say the burgers were any better at McDonalds there but the beer certainly was great!
 

takao

macrumors 68040
Dec 25, 2003
3,825
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Dornbirn (Austria)
funny how both burgerking and mcdonalds have been selling beer for years over here (at burgerking they have miller or something like that and at mcdonalds an austrian brand

they don't advertise it but i remember that they are selling it at least since 2002
 

0098386

Suspended
Jan 18, 2005
21,552
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They've been selling that stuff on mainland Europe for years. I think it's a good idea too, there's a pub round my way that sells fancy burgers and they get very good business.
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
12,141
13,993
I feel like beer and a whopper really wouldn't go well together, no matter how nice the beer. Fast food and alcohol (among other things) just don't mix.
I dont know, there are an awful lot of college students that can't seem to get enough fast food, but they're already drunk:p
 

Antares

macrumors 68000
Doesn't McD's in Russia offer vodka?

Burgers, fries and beer go great together. So, I think this is a great idea for the King. Heck, when you're eating burgers you want something lighter to drink....like a pilsner. Miller and Budweiser are perfect for that. Flavorful or heavier beers are meals unto themselves.
 

jzuena

macrumors 6502a
Feb 21, 2007
997
31
Lexington, MA, USA
The beer might stink, the burgers might be awful but a combo meal of a crappy Whopper, fries and a cold beer for $7.99 will probably sell pretty well in middle America...
Too bad Miami Beach is on the east coast :D

I feel like beer and a whopper really wouldn't go well together, no matter how nice the beer. Fast food and alcohol (among other things) just don't mix.
If you count pizza as fast food, it goes pretty good with beer.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,378
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Location Location Location
Interesting, anyway. Starbucks is trying something similar with this 15th Ave Tea & Coffee place they opened in Seattle, although they seem to be trying much harder to create the right environment.
Interesting. I didn't know that, not like I really get Starbucks over here anyway.

I once told someone (and also may have mentioned it here) that I thought it would be a wise decision for Starbucks to start marketing to a more adult crowd and begin having more relaxing cafés that served coffee-based alcoholic drinks. With a liquor licence, they'd eliminate teenagers from swarming a Starbucks and stressing out most older patrons who only want to sit, drink a coffee, and stare at a magazine or newspaper. Also, it would be a good place for adults to have a low-key night out --- nothing too rowdy --- and yet offer something different from the typical pub (or Bingo :p).


I was told it was a bad idea, but I was never 100% convinced that it was.....


I think BK's move would make more sense if they had craft beer and more gourmet burgers, but who knows?
Again, I agree. I can't tell from the article itself, but if the burgers were a bit more upscale --- possibly a BK with your own choice of toppings (thereby making it a Harveys :eek:) --- it would be a bit more unique. Nicer chairs and decor are nice, but a boutique burger place that happens to serve beer would have been a better way to branch out.
 

RedTomato

macrumors 601
Mar 4, 2005
4,014
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.. London ..
I don't get this?

Pubs, cafes, and even restaurants in London have been selling burgers and beer / wine together for many, many years. There's at least 10 places within 20 mins of my home where you can get burger and beer. Same again where I work.

Cheap fast-food and beer is a bit different, at least in the same shop, but usually almost every burger bar or kebab bar has a 24-hour off-licence next door.
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
9,218
1,584
Hardly a new idea. People have been doing this for years at home it's called a BBQ or for the posh ones a pool party.