Chicken wing prices flying high
Football season is right around the corner, with the regular NFL season starting the first week of September. That means many tailgaters and fans at home will be chowing down on chicken wings every weekend.
But America's growing appetite for wings is causing a spike in prices for the dish at restaurants nationwide.
At places like Wingstop, chicken wings are always a hot item, National Chicken Wing Day notwithstanding. The aviation-themed franchise started in Texas in the 1990s and has since has taken off with more than 1,000 restaurants nationwide.
But now the same wings that built this business are biting into the bottom line. Wingstop CEO Charlie Morrison says the price his company pays for wings is at an all-time high. "This year, in 2017, we've seen a much higher price for chicken wings especially through the summer months," Morrison told CBS News.
It's not just Wingstop feeling the heat of higher prices. When Buffalo Wild Wings recently disclosed a drop in earnings, the company's CEO noted that "traditional chicken wing costs remain at historically high levels." Lower hatch rates and capacity at chicken farms, as well as strong consumer demand for wings, helped push chicken wing prices to $2.05 per pound in the second quarter -- a 6% increase over the previous year, the company said.
It's a classic case of demand outstripping supply, and many restaurants beyond Buffalo Wild Wings and Wingstop have been forced to raise menu prices.
"That's natural in the restaurant business to raise prices as commodity costs increase," Wingstop's Morrison said. "We don't want to raise them too much because we want to keep a great value for our consumers."
Morrison said chicken wing costs should stabilize soon as supplies catch up, but until then customers can expect to pay a little more -- or switch up their orders. Wingstop and Buffalo Wild Wings are offering customers the option of cheaper "boneless" wings that are made from chicken breast.
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