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Prices of chicken wings in restaurants have gone insane

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Feb 27, 2004
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Prices of chicken wings in restaurants have gone insane

I was recently at jack Astors square one. It seems like each time I go there they have a new Menu and have increased the prices, way more increase than my paycheque each year, but anyway the prices for wings were insane. Real sports bar in Toronto has 6 wings for 14.75 or 12 wings for 28.75. Wtf?? Jack Astors has 5 wings for $10. This is messed up.
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Feb 9, 2012
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Gtabuddy wrote: I was recently at jack Astors square one. It seems like each time I go there they have a new Menu and have increased the prices, way more increase than my paycheque each year, but anyway the prices for wings were insane. Real sports bar in Toronto has 6 wings for 14.75 or 12 wings for 28.75. Wtf?? Jack Astors has 5 wings for $10. This is messed up.
Wings are not the only thing on the menu. Try ordering something else, or go to a wings place for a better deal.
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Dec 21, 2011
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Gtabuddy wrote: I was recently at jack Astors square one. It seems like each time I go there they have a new Menu and have increased the prices, way more increase than my paycheque each year, but anyway the prices for wings were insane. Real sports bar in Toronto has 6 wings for 14.75 or 12 wings for 28.75. Wtf?? Jack Astors has 5 wings for $10. This is messed up.
Yeah, that is insane. Wow, how the heck did that happen :-0
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Mar 31, 2008
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It's all those specialty wing places that go through a ton of them and help raise the wholesale price up.
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Aug 22, 2006
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at1212b wrote: It's all those specialty wing places that go through a ton of them and help raise the wholesale price up.
Wholesale isn't that much to charge $2/wing.
Even 6/8 counts are only like $3 and something per pound or $0.50 for easy math.
Going by the 30% food cost rule even the ridiculous sized wings shouldn't be more than $1.50 per.
$2 is just ridiculous.

For the record, $2 buys me 6 wings that are fair sized (12 counts) at my local bar.
I just had 40 of them.
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Mar 7, 2005
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5 wings for $10 is beyond ridiculous.. I know that wings are always among the worst value on a menu, but that's unreal..
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Aug 22, 2006
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duckdown wrote: I know that wings are always among the worst value on a menu, but that's unreal..
Regular price? Yeah. To be fair, it's really hard to price them much lower and make your margins.
Places that sell for around $4/lb are literally giving them away. Actually it's worse than that. It's costing them money since that's basically raw food cost.
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Feb 9, 2012
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death_hawk wrote: Going by the 30% food cost rule even the ridiculous sized wings shouldn't be more than $1.50 per.
$2 is just ridiculous.
death_hawk wrote: Regular price? Yeah. To be fair, it's really hard to price them much lower and make your margins.
Places that sell for around $4/lb are literally giving them away. Actually it's worse than that. It's costing them money since that's basically raw food cost.
I like to support 40%, but even this article encourages 32%. :arrow: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/average- ... 13477.html
It could be that maybe my 40% is based on a much smaller restaurant with very low overhead, (ie a smaller fast food chicken place vs a larger Jack Astor's environment)
Penalty Box
Oct 26, 2007
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And to think chicken wings used to thrown out by the butcher back in the day. Then someone invented buffalo wings.

Same thing for beef brisket, was thrown out now can be a premium item at restaurants.

Ya that's expensive for wings especially since there is no way in hell you will be full. You will need to order something else.
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death_hawk wrote: Wholesale isn't that much to charge $2/wing.
Even 6/8 counts are only like $3 and something per pound or $0.50 for easy math.
Going by the 30% food cost rule even the ridiculous sized wings shouldn't be more than $1.50 per.
$2 is just ridiculous.

For the record, $2 buys me 6 wings that are fair sized (12 counts) at my local bar.
I just had 40 of them.
Whatever you feel justify the margins are, here are the whole sale chicken wing prices taken from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). American prices significantly influence Canadian pricing. Canada is also a net importer of chicken. We actually also export more dark meat.

Image

While it's down recently, you can clearly see it hit it's near all time high earlier this year. Restaurants likely raised prices then. I couldn't find a graph for Canadian prices but they closely track each other. And chances are, the weakening Cdn $ is also impacting pricing as a lower currency weakens purchasing power.

Wild Wings (which is a huge American chain) had a bad financial year this year due to the surge in poultry prices. These national chains significantly raise industry pricing due to the sheer volume of buying. This in turn raises the amount of people going to these type of restaurants creating a whole new market. I don't usually go too often to these chains, but I went to an All-Stars wing place and was surprised to see the number of teenagers/maybe early 20s there of all sort of sex and races. That market would not exist if these type of chains didn't exist.

Overhead is also a big cost per chicken wing, plus the equipment, serving, etc. And if they know they can make a profit, they will. There are still certain independent places that you can get good value.

I still remember chicken wings in the 90s when it was truly dirt cheap. Many places where you can order so much for a few bucks, that you had to force yourself to try to finish them just so you didn't lose 'face' in front of your friends. Back then too, you would never see a parent feeding their child chicken wings. Now, it's the norm.
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playnicee1 wrote: I like to support 40%, but even this article encourages 32%. :arrow: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/average- ... 13477.html
It could be that maybe my 40% is based on a much smaller restaurant with very low overhead, (ie a smaller fast food chicken place vs a larger Jack Astor's environment)
You'd be sunk at 40% costs except in a very limited scope of operations.
Grocery stores are usually around that (or higher) mostly because of recycled product.
If they were buying fresh it'd be a different story but using old chickens for rotisserie for example means your actual food cost is zero.

But a standalone restaurant (be it fast food or full service) would die quite quickly at 40% costs.
at1212b wrote: I still remember chicken wings in the 90s when it was truly dirt cheap. Many places where you can order so much for a few bucks, that you had to force yourself to try to finish them just so you didn't lose 'face' in front of your friends. Back then too, you would never see a parent feeding their child chicken wings. Now, it's the norm.
They're still fairly cheap. I don't have any issues finding them at $0.30ish.
Just last night I had 40 at $0.30 plus one drink.

It's no where near the $0.05 or $0.10 of the 90s but at the same time it's also higher quality.
I used to hit those and they were never really that good. Even then I used to seek out the $0.25ish places because of better wings.
Now I'd rather pay a little more and get something that's quality.
Not $2/wing but I'd be happy with $0.50 assuming a decent product.
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death_hawk wrote: You'd be sunk at 40% costs except in a very limited scope of operations.
But a standalone restaurant (be it fast food or full service) would die quite quickly at 40% costs.
40% is doable. The overhead would be limited, along with space.
Location is also something to consider.
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May 28, 2012
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I only buy chicken wings in the tray packs when they are marked down or on sale. Costco sells a huge box of frozen wings...I think it's 4 kg for about $30...has anyone tried them?
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The other factor to consider is the size of each individual wing. They seem to vary from scrawny to behemoth these days. I wouldn't be surprised if the amount of meat on the largest is 4X that of the smallest.
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playnicee1 wrote: 40% is doable. The overhead would be limited, along with space.
Location is also something to consider.
You're also the one that thinks we can do $1/piece fried chicken.
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Mars2012 wrote: I only buy chicken wings in the tray packs when they are marked down or on sale. Costco sells a huge box of frozen wings...I think it's 4 kg for about $30...has anyone tried them?
I like the fresh Lilydale ones better. The Sunrise farms ones (eg frozen ones) are kind of small. They do have a price advantage per lb but I lean towards larger wings over smaller ones.
That's also the reason I used to buy 6/8 counts instead.
As a comparison I think the Lilydale are around 12-14s whereas Sunrise Farms are like 16-18s.
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death_hawk wrote: You're also the one that thinks we can do $1/piece fried chicken.
It still can be done, but that again is a hole in the wall place with minimum seating.
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Any wing over .50 cents is a rip off. Want to charge me $2, better be a turkey wing
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When I was a kid growing up in the 60's we were dirt poor - my mother used to buy chicken wings at the butcher for 25 cents a pound - chicken wings were considered garbage meat - I understand that at one time lobster was also considered to be garbage food that poor people ate.

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