In the past year, numerous restaurants have created virtual brands to meet the new demand for convenience. Many of them have been wing-based because of the food’s portability and ease of preparation. Some of the notable chains that have started virtual wing concepts include Fazoli’s, Nathan’s Famous, Chili’s, Applebee’s, and Smokey Bones.
However, the arrival of so many concepts has contributed to a volatile wing market and inflationary prices. To counteract this issue, restaurants are trying to use more pieces of the bird. For example, Wingers, a small chain based in the Midwest, is testing Tennessee Hot Legs, and in January, Wing it On! introduced crispy Thigh Wings.
Wingstop, which has just over 1,400 stores in the U.S., has tested bone-in thighs and struck agreements with suppliers as part of its wing inflation mitigation strategy. In late April, the chain noted that the labor shortage has also affected the supply chain.
“The absolute number of chickens that are being processed is down,” CEO Charlie Morrison said in April. “That’s why you see pressure even in the sandwich business and everywhere on chicken right now. Labor shortages are the real challenge we’re dealing with.”
Chick-fil-A’s supply chain has been compromised, as well. The brand posted on its website that “Due to industrywide supply chain shortages, some items, like sauces, may be unavailable. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience.” Until the issue is resolved, the chain will give only one sauce cup per item ordered.
“We are actively working to make adjustments to solve this issue quickly and apologize to our guests for any inconvenience,” Chick-fil-A said in a statement.