Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Why Carl’s Jr is happier in L.A.

August 25, 2010

carlshappyHere’s another reason to love L.A.

The city’s downtown business district is home to the only Carl’s Jr restaurants that serve beer.

“We market to the young, hungry male. He’s also thirsty,” said Julie McLean, a spokeswoman for the chain, which has used controversial celebrities like Paris Hilton to push its generously-portioned, indulgent hamburgers.

Jennifer McGrath, the marketing manager whose region includes the three beer-serving L.A. restaurants, said happy hour specials have boosted business at those restaurants.

The company said the restaurants inherited their liquor licenses from previous tenants and that the chain has no plans to add beer at its other outlets.

“We don’t plan on adding alcohol sales to any locations at this time,” McGrath said.

Full-service hamburger chains like Red Robin and regional operators like Counter and Smashburger offer beer and wine, but big boys like McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, In-N-Out and Five Guys do not.

Starbucks will test beer and wine at one of its namesake cafes when it reopens this autumn following a remodel.  The world’s biggest coffee chain has tested alcohol sales before, but has yet to pull the trigger.

Do you think the time has come for more restaurants to add adult beverages?

(Reuters photo)

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