One of the more unexpected continuing impacts of the ongoing pandemic is the chicken wing shortage. Last month, a shortage of the popular poultry offering and chicken more generally made headlines as some restaurants began to raise prices on menu items or even limit chicken offerings due to the shortage. Now Wingstop, a chain that is well-known for its wings is taking a novel approach to the situation by launching the virtual brand Thighstop and serving chicken thighs.
On Monday, Wingstop launched the virtual "Thighstop" brand as a digital-only brand, meaning that it is available to order on their website through DoorDash but there are no physical Thighstop stores. Customers can also order from the Thighstop menu via their phones at Wingstop locations. The Thighstop menu is pretty straightforward. You can get either bone-in or boneless thighs served plain or in Wingstop's 11 flavors.
For Wingstop, offering thighs as an option isn't just a way to deal with the wing shortage, it also makes financial sense as the cost of thighs is much lower than the cost of wings, which have been in especially high demand during the pandemic.
"The [wholesale] price of wings a year ago was as low as 98 cents," per pound, Charlie Morrison, Chairman and CEO of Wingstop Restaurants Inc., told CNN Business. "Today, it's at $3.22. So it's a meaningful difference."
He said that thighs are "much less expensive" at around half of what wings cost per pound currently. Morrison also explained that they had been considering introducing thighs before the shortage and price spike.
"If we can buy all parts of the chicken, not just the breast meat for boneless wings and the wings themselves ... we can start to control a little bit more of the supply chain," Morrison explained.
The biggest challenge is that Wingstop has to win over customers who have become accustomed to white meat, which is the general American chicken preference. Morrison, however, thinks he can make Americans fans of chicken thighs, too.
"We believe we can make them a center-of-the-plate item," Morrison said.0comments
"We think it's going to be a big fan favorite for a long time to come."
What do you think about Wingstop now serving chicken thighs? Will you be giving Thighstop a try? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @lifeinpolaroid to talk all things food, comics, and more!