Christchurch Wendy's defends liquor licence bid as way to 'up its game'

Hornby residents are concerned about a liquor licence application made by the local Wendy's.

Hornby residents are concerned about a liquor licence application made by the local Wendy's.

A plan to sell alcohol at a Wendy's fast-food restuarant has prompted an outcry.

The Hornby Wendy's has applied to the Christchurch City Council for a liquor licence between 8am and 11pm, Monday to Sunday.

It is the first fast food outlet in New Zealand to make such a move. 

Wendy's chief executive Danielle Lendich said the company wanted guests to enjoy a beer with a burger if they chose to, and it was a way for Wendy's to "up its game".

Local leaders have vowed to oppose the liquor licence application. 

Riccarton Wigram Community Board chair Mike Mora said: "I haven't spoken to one person who thinks is good idea. In fact everyone is absolutely appalled. 

"Why would a fast food outlet want this? They should be able to stand alone with all other fast food outlets without the introduction of alcohol to the menu."

Mora had canvassed stores in the immediate locality east of Hornby Mall and "businesses, no-one, wants a change of culture in that shopping precinct".

He urged people to make submssions on Wendy's application by the deadline of November 6. 

Lendich said there would be a limited alcohol menu of mainly beer and cider, with low alcohol options as per requirements of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

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"Many other family and quick service restaurants have liquor licences including Valentines, the old Cobb & Co, Denny's and Lone Star, and many QSR [quick service restaurant] concepts that have opened more recently also have liquor licenses including Burger Burger, Mexicali Fresh, Zambrero, The Coffee Club and Columbus," she said.

Non-alcoholic beverages would still be available, and no alcohol would be served at the drive-through or for takeaway guests.

People would only be able to buy alcohol with food and managers would go through training programmes, Lendich said.

"It is Wendy's view that responsible consumption of alcohol in a family restaurant setting is a positive outcome and we have every confidence that we will sell alcohol safely and responsibly," Lendich said.

"Our principal business will remain the provision of meals to the public and we have no intention of becoming a bar or hangout where people sit all night and drink beer."

Christchurch West Information Hub co-ordinator Kirstin Dingwall-Okoye hoped to muster "as many objections as possible".

"This concerns me because Wendy's is a traditional burger restaurant, usually aimed at being family friendly," she said.

"It is often packed with school-age children after school and in the holidays. It is also often staffed by kids as an after school/holiday job.  

"It also concerns me that this may set a precedent for family 'burger' style restaurants, not just in Hornby, but in other centres around Christchurch and New Zealand,   I believe it is imperative that a strong community lead objection is raised against this."

Labour Wigram MP Megan Woods said there were plenty of places to go in Hornby to have a drink with a meal and there was no appetite for Wendy's to be one of those places.

She has organised a "submissions evening" at 5pm on Monday , at the Hei Hei Salvation Army, for people wanting to make a submission on the application.

Christchurch deputy mayor Vicki Buck told the Paul Henry Show that she thought it was "a bit weird" that a fast food joint would want to sell alcohol.

She encouraged those who opposed the application to make their voices heard.

"It's a local fast food takeaway place and a number of people in Hornby are concerned about what's likely to happen there. There are a lot of kids, a lot of teenagers there," she told Paul Henry.

She said while it was nice to think people would be mature around alcohol, that was an "idealistic" view and she was not confident the alcohol would be handled responsibly by some. 

Restaurant Brands declined to comment on the issue of whether it would sell alcohol in its stores, which include Pizza Hut and Carl's Jr. 

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