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Wingstop Knows You Want More, More, More Wings

Still, the company is trying out a new concept -- a larger store with an expanded menu and sports theme, Wingstop Sports, that will fall short of a full-service sports bar and restaurant. A grand opening comes to Brownsville, Texas, next week.

"It's not going to be like Buffalo Wild Wings," he says. "Our alcohol sales are 1% to 2%" of sales, and Wingstop Sports locations should see a rise to between 6% to 8% -- far short of the roughly 20% an establishment such as Buffalo Wild Wings does in alcohol sales.

Wings appeal to consumers
The wings industry is growing, and there's lots of reasons for it.

"Wings are a fun, shareable and social food and are the perfect food when you're getting together with friends to watch sports," Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith says. "They are easy to combine with a favorite side dish or two for a meal."

Wings are cheap to buy in bulk and consumers can order them in mass amounts without spending a lot of money.

Wings also play to the consumer trend of customization. Customers can choose flavors, order size and bone-in or boneless wings. That's opening up the typical demographic of a wing eater to nontraditional demographics -- meaning women, says Mary Chapman, director of product innovation at consulting firm Technomic.

Approximately 36% of Technomic's Top 500 restaurant chains sell wings, a number that keeps rising year over year. "Buffalo Wild Wings has so much influence over the category -- as long as it is growing, the segment will be growing," Chapman says.

Wings is a good franchise concept
Chicken as a commodity is cheaper than beef, making it easier to increase (or decrease) production as demand changes. "So even if commodity prices go up and down, it's not as long-term an impact on costs like beef, where cattle have a longer life span and takes longer to get new beef products to market," Chapman says.

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