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Strong 2012 growth for chicken wings could bode well for Super Bowl sales if higher prices don’t spoil the party

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LEESBURG, VA (January 30, 2013)

According to GuestMetrics, based on its proprietary database of POS transactions of over $8 billion dollars in transactions and over 250 million checks from restaurants and bars across the United States, chicken wings achieved the largest share gain in the food category in 2012.  “In analyzing the 64% of sales in table service restaurants and bars that comes from food, the largest share gain in the category was achieved by chicken wings,” said Bill Pecoriello, CEO of GuestMetrics LLC. “While food sales grew almost 1% in 2012 compared to the prior year, chicken wing sales grew nearly 11%,” continued Pecoriello.  According to GuestMetrics, chicken wings sales in 2012 grew 10.7%, the net result of the number of chicken wing orders growing 7.3% and chicken wing prices increasing 3.4%. As commodity inflation picked up late in the year, the price consumers paid for chicken wings surged 13% in recent weeks as restaurant operators passed the higher costs onto consumers. The higher prices did result in a slower order rate which needs to be monitored in the weeks ahead, including during the all-important Super Bowl event.

“In further analyzing the chicken wing category, we see that about 80% of the incremental growth in chicken wings was due to strength seen among boneless chicken wings, which accounted for about 14% of chicken wing sales in 2012,” said Peter Reidhead, VP of Strategy and Insights at GuestMetrics.  “Given the average price of boneless chicken wings is $7.99 versus $6.87 for regular chicken wings, this shift in consumer preferences should prove to be a further positive for restaurants selling chicken wings.” 

“In our minds, this underscores the importance of restaurant operators having an up-to-date understanding of the fastest growing food items and to adjust their menus accordingly.  Additionally, given the strong growth seen in chicken wings in 2012, this could potentially provide a lift to sales for the upcoming Super Bowl Sunday, which is obviously an important event for many restaurants and bars, particularly given the relatively weak note that 2012 ended on for much of the restaurant sector,” said Brian Barrett, President of GuestMetrics. The one watch out will be if the recent double digit surge in prices mutes what is a strong underlying trend in consumer demand.  

About GuestMetrics LLC

GuestMetrics, LLC is revolutionizing how the hospitality industry operates.  Despite the dawn of the Digital Age having begun more than three decades ago, the hospitality industry essentially functions the same way it did centuries before.  GuestMetrics has cracked the code by collecting data from tens of thousands of restaurants and turning billions of raw transactions into intelligible data that is fundamentally transforming the business operations of everyone from the independently-owned bar/restaurant on the corner, to multi-national chains, to the food & beverage companies that supply them.  Please visit www.GuestMetrics.com for more information and to arrange for a free demonstration.