White Castle, the 90-year-old fast food chain, wants to add booze to their menu of greasy fries and sliders, apparently prompted by the suggestions of customers. They’re testing the concept at a restaurant in Indiana, selling beer and wine starting at $3 a cup, in the hopes of bumping up profits. Which makes sense, given that alcohol is at least as addictive as their sugary, fatty, salty fast food. But if you kill off your customers with heart attacks and drunk driving, who will be left at the drive-thru?
The Indiana restaurant is one of three concept restaurants that White Castle is testing out. Called “Blaze Modern BBQ,” it combines White Castle’s menu with new items, and booze, according to MSNBC:
“This was something that customers had been suggesting,” said Jamie Richardson, a spokesman for Columbus-based White Castle System Inc. “They thought that beer and wine might go nicely with the barbecue that was available at Blaze. We’re certain that we might have some customers who might enjoy some sliders and a beer or wine as well.”
The company’s really excited about the possibilities, but even they admit there are some potential problems here:
“What we find with fast-food places is, there’s very strict regulations around training. Typically, a lot of the employees in fast food are under 21, so you get into some service issues,” he said. “You get into some inventory issues. You get into whether distributors are willing to deliver to you because you’re generally not doing a whole lot of volume in these categories.”
Inventory and training are your biggest concerns? Really?
Let’s be honest: White Castle is basically drunk food, so it’s not as if they’re attracting a super sober crowd to begin with. (That could also explain the high customer demand for booze.) But selling booze to customers (drunk or sober) at a fast food restaurant is just a disaster waiting to happen: Fast food joints don’t exactly encourage their customers to sit and nurse their glass of Shiraz over apps and dessert; their customers are far more likely to gulp their beer and hit the road with elevated blood alcohol levels. But let’s suppose the ambiance of “Blaze” does make you want to stick around and drink: Oh wait, drunken customers hanging around asking for more beer from teenage employees doesn’t sound like a good idea either.
Don’t get me wrong: I do like drinking. And, as much as I wish it weren’t so, I also really love sliders. But put the two together in a cheap fast food setting and you’ve got a recipe for the worst fast food chain ever.
Photo: Josh McConnell