“Overall chicken sales experienced healthy sales growth of about four percent during the first quarter of 2013, resulting in chicken wings being one of the top gainers in share of the food category sales in full serve restaurants during the first quarter of the year,” says Bill Pecoriello, c.e.o. of GuestMetrics, a company that aggregates and analyzes restaurant POS data.
The news could have been better. Because wing prices rose an average of nine percent in the period in comparison to the prior year, the actual number of chicken wing dishes sold declined by five percent.
More importantly, GuestMetrics data points to a dramatic shift in the chicken wing category: boneless wings are gaining in popularity.
“There is a fairly rapid shift taking place within the chicken wing category as boneless chicken wings take significant share of the category at the expense of bone-in chicken wings,” says GuestMetrics v.p. Peter Reidhead, “While boneless chicken wings’ share of sales for the overall chicken wing category was seven percent in 2011, it expanded to 13 percent in 2012, and was around 16 percent during the first quarter of 2013.” By GuestMetrics reckoning, while boneless chicken wings grew sales more than 65 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period from the prior year, bone-in chicken wing sales contracted more than three percent. That nets out to an overall growth rate of four percent for the chicken wing category.
Excerpts from Restaurant Hospitality, written by Bob Krummert