We’ve all been there. You are running late and you just need a quick meal with no fuss. You are watching what you eat (usually) but today will just have to be an exception. Fast food restaurants aren’t the healthiest option, but they sure are convenient. Now picture this: you hurry into your local fast food joint and suddenly you notice that alcoholic beverages are now listed on the menu. That is about to become a reality at a new Taco Bell location opening in Wicker Park, Chicago, Illinois.
At first glance this may not seem like such a bad idea. After all, many other restaurants serve alcohol. This new Taco Bell restaurant will be located near other taco restaurants that serve alcohol. Allowing Taco Bell to do so as well will increase their ability to compete. What’s wrong with that?
Let’s start off with general facts about alcohol. As you probably already know, consumption of alcohol inhibits motor controls, dulls mental function, compromises decision-making abilities, and lengthens reaction times. When consumed in large quantities, alcohol can cause a person to lose control of their car, injuring or killing themselves and others.
The Impact on Our Safety
It may be argued that these effects will be experienced whether a person consumes alcohol in a regular restaurant or in a fast food restaurant. The difference is that when a person sits down to a meal in a regular restaurant, they have usually planned to be there for an extended period of time, allowing the effects of any alcohol consumed to wear off. When a person goes to a fast food restaurant, as the name implies, they are usually there to get in and out efficiently, leaving insufficient time between when they consume alcohol and when they get back into their car to drive away. Allowing alcohol to be served in fast food chains will lead to an increase in drivers who are operating their vehicle under the influence, making our roadways less safe for everyone.
The Impact on Society
When you think of the typical fast food customer, who comes to mind? There could be several answers to that question, but families with small children will certainly top the list. Parents bring their children to fast food restaurants as a treat. Overworked moms and dads bring their children on days when the thought of making dinner seems daunting. Have you ever been to a McDonalds or a Burger King or a Taco Bell without seeing at least one child there? Children learn by mimicry. If alcohol is served at fast food restaurants, it will increase the number of children exposed to alcohol consumption. This could lead to an increase in children who consume alcohol at a young age.
This brings us to the next point: if alcohol is served at fast food restaurants, it creates a sense of normalcy regarding having a drink and a concept that “everybody does it.” Is this really the message we want to be sending to the youth of this country? By allowing alcohol to be served at fast food restaurants, we are sending the message that alcohol is so necessary to life that we have to include it everywhere.
Allowing alcohol to be served at a fast food restaurant is a mistake. The very purpose of such a place is to provide cheap food that can be obtained in a hurry while moving on to other things in a busy day. Do we really want to add alcohol to that mix? It will only serve to increase alcoholism, endanger lives on the road, and expose children to alcohol consumption at a young age. It is a proposition in which everyone loses and therefore should not be allowed.