When life's handing out lemons, make lemonade ... then spike it. These sure are tough economic times; some fast food companies are even turning to the bottle.

According to USA Today, major players in the quick-serve industry are testing out beer and wine on their menus. Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) hit headlines last year when it started offering wine and beer at a Seattle location. Sonic (Nasdaq: SONC) and Burger King are testing out similar options.

Starbucks now serves beer and wine in four Seattle locations. Sonic's testing out alcohol sales in two locations (don't worry, not for folks in cars), and Burger King has three beer-slinging locations in the U.S. and three overseas.

Economic duress has made it difficult for many restaurants to compete. In the past several months, chains like Sbarro and Perkins have filed for bankruptcy. McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) may be doing well, but check out Wendy's/Arby's Group (NYSE: WEN) for an example of a beleaguered restaurant chain. There's a good reason why it decided to sell its long-suffering Arby's chain.

Booze could help boost these companies if it's offered on a wider scale. Buffalo Wild Wings (Nasdaq: BWLD) -- which relies a lot on alcohol -- has done quite well despite the recession, and I had to admit recently that the secret to its success very well could be happy hour power. Of course, we all know that alcohol sales can also result in many risks and potential liabilities for restaurants.

Should quick-serve restaurants like Starbucks, Sonic, and Burger King expand on this idea? Or are they opening themselves up for a heck of a hangover? Let us know in the comments box below.

Alyce Lomax owns shares of Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Buffalo Wild Wings, Starbucks, and McDonald's. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.