Often called “the gateway meat” for vegetarians, bacon has a certain allure that has earned it hundreds of menu applications and crazy iterations (think bacon-studded mac ‘n’ cheese and bacon-blended milkshakes). As with many popular ingredients, bacon now has its own day. While there’s some debate over the actual date—some say December 30 and others go for the Saturday before Labor Day—several brands are pushing their bacon-laden offerings this upcoming holiday weekend.
“Up until this year … I wasn’t aware that there was a National Bacon Day. I’m not surprised by any stretch; I think it deserves to be a true national holiday that gets a little bit more recognition,” says Wing Zone CMO Dan Corrigan.
As demonstrated by Wing Zone, just about any category can get in on the bacon action. The brand will be pushing its “WidowMaker” burger—four quarter-pound patties layered with cheese and four strips broken in halves. With more than a pound of meat in between the two buns, the name is rather fitting.
“The WidowMaker is the most popular sandwich outside of the build-your-own [option] from a sales perspective,” Corrigan says. “The most ordered is the Smokehouse.”
Like the WidowMaker, it also features bacon but with a single patty, cheese, and Honey Q sauce.
Although burgers have been on the Wing Zone menu since the mid 2000s, the brand has ramped up the emphasis on them. About a year and a half ago, it changed its logo under the brand name to “Wings Burgers Flavor.” Several ingredients were upgraded and now burgers like the WidowMaker and Smokehouse feature applewood-smoked bacon.
“We really wanted to be seen as something more than just wings,” Corrigan says. “We’ve always had burgers, but we’re really trying to be more authentic with our food so we really took our burgers to another level in May.”
In May, Wing Zone celebrated another foodie holiday, National Hamburger Month, by extending its delivery services to include burgers. As Corrigan points out, the better-burger space is lacking in delivery options.
Bacon might also find its way back on the wing portion of the menu. During the brand’s first-ever Flavor Face-off, BBQ Bacon Nirvana was one of the contestants and appeared in stores for a limited. Corrigan hints that it could soon return in some capacity.
“People either loved or hated it. Some stores sold really well and others not so much,” he says. “It was another niche that we will probably look to bring back at some point if it’s something that our fans are still craving.”
By Nicole Duncan