Business

Wingstop Introduces New Brand In Effort To Combat Rising Chicken Prices

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg General Assignment Reporter
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The restaurant chain Wingstop will begin offering thighs under the brand Thighstop in an effort to combat rising chicken prices, the company announced Monday.

Wingstop will begin purchasing entire chickens as a cheaper alternative to pre-processed wings, company CEO Charlie Morrison told Bloomberg. Chicken prices have increased in large part due to the United States’ labor shortage, as well as increased consumer spending as the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

“There’s a real supply constraint out there and it centers on the availability of workers to actually process the chicken. The amount of chickens that are being put in the supply chain is actually far lower than it has been in the past. It makes it a little trickier for us,” Morrison said.

Morrison is not the only business owner to point to the United States’ labor shortage as a main cause of increased chicken prices. Greg Duell, who owns a restaurant in Buffalo, New York, told Fox Business on June 14 that wing prices nearly doubled due to his supplier’s inability to find workers.

Some government officials and economists point to the American Rescue Plan’s increased unemployment benefits as the main cause of the country’s labor shortage, though the point is contested.

Chicken prices increased 2.1% in May, according to Bloomberg. That followed a 1.1% increase between March and April. The Department of Agriculture argues that those increases were driven by increased demand, as well as weather patterns that impacted feed costs. Bone-in-leg chicken cost $1.59 per pound in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while full chickens cost $1.49 per pound.

Therefore, expanding to thighs is a “strategic supply-chain move,” Morrison explained.