7 Restaurants That Do Not Serve Alcohol

Restaurants That Do Not Serve Alcohol

The more I dove into this topic, the fewer restaurants I could find that didn’t at least sell beer or wine to their clientele, surprising results that I didn’t even realize living here, including fast food chains. I’m not quite sure when this all happened, but then I don’t eat out as a habit. 

I was going to make this list about the fast food industry because I was sure Burger King, Taco Bell, and places like these absolutely would not sell being family-friendly locations, but I was wrong. Taco Bell has locations throughout the United States recognized as “Taco Bell Cantina” that serve a relatively full bar.

And Burger King, in that same vein, has locations with Burger King Whopper bars also with beer and wine selections for their guests. Starbucks is a coffee house that offers alcoholic spirits and other options in their coffee drinks in the evenings but is considering discontinuing. The only few I can find entirely wholesome are:

  1. KFC
  2. McDonald’s
  3. Wendy’s
  4. Chick Fil A
  5. Boston Market (not many of these left)
  6. Dairy Queen
  7. Subway (most sub shops)

And many little mom-and-pop coffee houses that only serve coffee. These vary from state to state. Diners are even serving beer. Many restaurants today find that serving alcohol is a profitable benefit to their business, and most are deciding to add that component after carefully weighing the variables. 

How Do You Know Serving Alcohol Is Right For Your Establishment?

When looking at the businesses surrounding yours and seeing the people flocking to them because they offer alcohol and you don’t, it’s obvious where the moneymaker is. The conundrum is, do you want to be that restaurant? It’s vital to weigh the pros and cons of what comes with being alcohol-free. Check out these advantages.

  1. You’re providing a family-friendly atmosphere. Some parents don’t want to bring their children into an environment where adults have been drinking and become belligerent or overly boisterous.
  2. As the manager, you don’t want your staff to deal with the effect of alcohol after someone has had a few too many and their personality becomes difficult. It can also disturb those in the establishment who choose not to drink.
  3. It can be exceptionally expensive when you consider the fees, licensure, insurance, equipment for the bar, upkeep, and the staff that specializes in the services.

How Alcohol Can Be Beneficial For A Business

Although there are downsides, there are also many reasons why selling alcohol in this day and age is beneficial for a business. What are the advantages of offering clientele liquor access?

  1. For most restaurants, a liquor license is limited to a select few making you one of the primary competitors in the market.
  2. Alcoholic drinks like specific wines, certain spirits, and even special beers are designated as food pairings or complement to distinct dishes. They bring out the flavor and allow a better experience for the customer.
  3. The bottom line is alcohol profits are much higher than food.
  4. Most guests will wait at the bar and grab a drink when waiting for their table instead of being upset over the delay.

What Are The Guidelines For Liquor License?

Restaurants That Do Not Serve Alcohol

With certain concepts, you must obtain a liquor license based on the consumer persona you hope to draw. But that doesn’t mean getting a state liquor license will be easy. If you decide to sell liquor, it will take effort.

Every state has specific rules pertaining to that location, including local ordinances restricting restaurants from alcohol sales. Even if you do receive a liquor license in your state, you don’t have the opportunity to do as you wish. There are stringent guidelines. 

You have designated hours in which you sell the liquor, and there are specific types you’re allowed to serve, with the potential for other limitations. Your local Alcohol Beverage Control of ABC office will work with you to establish a plan before the bar is developed. It’s essential to understand; the process can be extensive and expensive. Some requirements:

  1. Some states set a quota or a cap for how many licenses are available for a designated period. If that number is met, you will need to be placed on an extensive waiting list, lengthening the time you will wait for your restaurant to come to fruition.
  2. The local community has the right to contest your licensing if they don’t like the idea of alcohol being brought into their neighborhoods. While you have the opportunity to appeal – why would you want to when those in your location won’t be coming to your place of business?
  3. If there are restrictions with local zoning ordinances, you could be unable to sell alcohol. This could result from your business being close to a church community or a school district. It’s essential to work with the city to validate the information. If you want to serve alcohol in your restaurant, learn the zoning laws and then find a lease that works with those.
  4. As the seller, you need a valid Seller’s Permit from the state if you want to apply for a license.
  5. You have to be over the age of 21 in order to sell alcohol.
  6. Your staff, including managers, will need to participate in a class or obtain certification to ensure they are responsible when serving alcohol to the public.
  7. Anyone with a criminal record will find it more challenging to receive a liquor license.


It’s important to carefully consider whether you want to serve your patrons spirits, wine, or beer. Hard liquor or spirits will be more expensive, and it will be difficult to obtain a license; any alcohol will be a complex and costly process. 

Many state and local laws contribute to the process. Working with the local ABC board is vital to ensure you comply with all the regulations. Make sure the location you choose is within the required guidelines to avoid potential challenges and get the necessary training and certification for the staff you hire. 

If you want to serve alcohol in your establishment, it’s OK to do so, but make sure you do so responsibly. 

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