Wing Restaurants are Hot: Why Americans Can’t Get Enough Chicken Wings
Chicken wings are a hot commodity. Americans ate more than 1.35 billion wings – that’s enough to circle the earth three times ‑ during the last Super Bowl weekend.
For wing-lovers, the food’s huge popularity means more opportunities to indulge and more flavors to try. For wing-makers, it means big business.
Americans’ chicken wing obsession bodes well for East Coast Wings + Grill franchise owners, as their in-demand menus drive ongoing sales growth.
But wing fever didn’t develop overnight. This trend has been a long time in the making, and it’s not going away any time soon:
The Birth of a Phenomenon
Legend dictates that Buffalo wings originated in 1964 at a family-owned joint in Buffalo, New York. Their creator whipped up a special sauce made of butter, hot sauce and red peppers, slathered on some chicken wings and served with a side of celery and blue cheese dressing.
For a while, the food remained a New York staple. But word soon spread, and by the mid-1980s, restaurants across the country added Buffalo wings (now usually just called “chicken wings”) to their menus. Restaurant owners found that the spicy, salty sauce drove beer sales, and the relatively low price made the dish perfect for sharing among large groups. That, paired with growing access to satellite TVs in bars and restaurants, kicked off the long-time love affair between wings and sports.
Once that connection was forged, there was no going back. Chicken wings were as American as Monday Night Football. And while wing consumption still spikes around the Super Bowl, consumers’ chicken wing cravings stay strong year round.
Just How Much Do Americans Love Wings?
To put things in perspective, here are some facts about our nation’s favorite finger food:
- Americans eat an estimated 28 billion wings each year
- The average person in the U.S. eats about 90 wings each year
- Each year, the city of Buffalo hosts the National Buffalo Wings Festival, at which 80,000 attendees consume around 27 tons of wings in two days. The festival also features a wing-eating contest. The current wing-eating world record stands at 444 wings in 26 minutes.
We have some history with the National Buffalo Wings Festival – East Coast Wings + Grill won top prize in 2010 for our Traditional Hot Buffalo Sauce. Even in the birthplace of Buffalo sauce, our product comes out on top. A year later, our Golden Barbecue Sauce did the same at the Carolina Wing Festival. As a Carolina-based company, we know a thing or two about good barbecue.
What Does This Mean for Restaurant Owners?
For restaurateurs, wings are the ultimate high-margin product, and spinoffs like the boneless wing present an opportunity for even larger profits.
Furthermore, wings occupy a sweet spot in consumer demand. Their association with sports drives demand in bars and grills across the country, and their addictive taste and pervasive presence has cemented their must-have status, even during the off-season.
Our advice for East Coast Wings + Grill franchise partners? Stock up on napkins. Because as long as Americans love sports and casual dining, chicken wing mania is here to stay.
Our menu offers an unrivaled selection of wing flavors – 58, to be exact – along with eight heat indexes so that each customer can create their perfect plate of wings. Add in our family-friendly atmosphere, and you’ve got a restaurant that attracts all types of wing-lovers.
East Coast Wings + Grill works tirelessly to ensure the financial success of each franchisee, and our top-notch, in-demand product helps propel us toward that goal.