As part of our foodservice consulting, we regularly follow certain new trends at restaurants. The recent add-on of alcohol service at chain quick service restaurants (QSR) is one worth watching. In particular is whether it will become a conflict with customers and a potential liability issue. In the New York Times this week, several industry analysts and operators offered their view. Here are some excerpts from that article: “Alcoholic beverages are highly, highly profitable,” said Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant industry analyst at the market research firm the NPD Group. “It’s been such a challenging time for the restaurant industry, I think they’re trying to pull out all the stops and try different ways of getting consumers to the restaurant.” “But some of the chains say that so far, the menu changes have been a lot of trouble with little reward. Customers apparently just don’t think a value meal pairs well with a cabernet, and the logistics involved with selling alcohol can be daunting and expensive. The problems include obtaining permits, training a staff that has high turnover, slowing down service when IDs have to be checked, and finding a dedicated area for alcohol service.” Read more on what other foodservice consulting firms and chains are concerned about when it comes to serving alcohol. There is also a related story concerning restaurant food service management chains, such as Sonic and Burger King, and their recent addition of alcohol service at some of those stores. One issue worth noting from a foodservice expert witness standpoint involved in liquor liability cases is this excerpt: “Beer or wine sold at fast-food outlets might give young folks the wrong message, adds Christopher Muller, dean at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration. You don’t want someone downing a quick beer, then getting into their cars and driving off. It’s a delicate balance of risk and reward.” Are you a fast food restaurant or QSR chain? If so, are you considering adding alcohol service where none existed previously? What problems do you expect to encounter from a foodservice consulting perspective that can be shared here?