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Wingstop – There is a scarcity of chicken wings

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Wingstop

There is a scarcity of chicken wings. As a result, this chain invites you to start adoring your thighs: The cost of chicken wings is skyrocketing. Wingstop, a restaurant famed for its wings, is now offering chicken thighs. Getting Americans on board, on the other hand, could be difficult.

Wingstop – There is a scarcity of chicken wings

Wingstop

The eatery debuted a new virtual brand named “Thighstop” on Monday, which offers crispy thighs with or without sauce. Breaded boneless versions of the product are also available on the menu. Customers can purchase from the “Thighstop” menu using their phones at a Wingstop location, where all orders are filled, even though the Thighstop brand is digital-only — available on the company’s website or through DoorDash but without dedicated storefronts.

Thighs are a better deal at Wingstop than wings

Chicken wing sales skyrocketed during the pandemic when restaurants closed their dining rooms and relied on delivery options. In 2020, sales at Wingstop (WING) stores in the United States that had been open for at least a year increased by roughly 21%. To cash in on the trend, casual dining chains like Applebee’s and Chili’s owner Brinker International (EAT) developed online-only brands offering wings. Wing prices have risen due to increased demand, high feed costs, and supply chain restrictions.

According to Charlie Morrison, Chairman and CEO of Wingstop Restaurants Inc., “the [wholesale] price of wings were as low as 98 cents per pound a year ago.” “It is currently trading at $3.22. As a result, there is a significant difference.” Thighs, on the other hand, are “far less expensive,” costing about half as much per pound as wings now.

Customers will pay about the same for thighs as they would for wings, according to Morrison. As long as thighs are cheaper to buy than wings, Wingstop’s margins on thighs will be better.

However, even before the price increase, Wingstop was considering how to introduce thighs.

“We can start to manage a little bit more of the supply chain if we can buy all portions of the chicken, not just the breast meat for boneless wings and the wings themselves,” Morrison added.

It may be difficult to persuade Americans to care about thighs. “It doesn’t have a significant market,” Morrison remarked. Thighs simply “do not receive the respect they deserve.”

White meat consumption in the United States is on the rise

According to David Anderson, a livestock economist at Texas A&M University, the majority of America’s chicken exports are dark meat, such as thighs. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with dark meat; in fact, many people like it. However, restaurant trends may lead Americans to choose white meat, such as breasts and wings, Anderson added. Because white meat was easy to work with, restaurants began to serve it, and this led to a long-standing American taste.

“Chicken nuggets, chicken strips, breaded chicken sandwiches,” he explained, “all lend themselves to the breast.” “It’s easy to peel stuff off the bone,” he remarked of breast meat. “You’ve got this fantastic piece of steak that can be used in so many different ways,” he explained. “That simply led to a whole generation of people preferring breast flesh.”

He stated that chicken wings became popular after that. In the 1960s, the Anchor Bar in Buffalo began offering the product. Chicken wings have previously been in short supply in the United States, according to the USDA. Wings’ association with the Super Bowl, according to the department, helped them become a hit in the United States.

Wingstop is seeking to increase the demand for thighs in the United States. “We feel we can make them a center-of-the-plate item,” Morrison said, noting that dark meat is becoming increasingly popular in the US. Changing US demographics have been driving the rising demand for dark meat in the United States, according to a 2019 report from CoBank, which provides loans and services to agricultural businesses.

And once Americans experience dark meat again, Morrison believes they will love it. “We believe it will continue to be a big fan favorite for a long time.”

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