Buffalo Wild Wings is expanding its bar food menu, moving away from its bone-in chicken wings that have long been a signature.
On Wednesday, the chain introduced its first pizza, topped with boneless wings—which are simply strips of white meat chicken. The pizza comes in two versions: Buffalo Boneless Bar Pizza and Honey BBQ Boneless Bar Pizza. Each has a base of thin crust dough with toppings that capitalize on BWW’s popular wing sauces.
The Buffalo version sports boneless wings spun in the chain’s medium Buffalo sauce, along with ranch dressing, blue cheese crumbles, pickled hot peppers, green onions and a drizzle of the same sauce. Honey BBQ pizza is topped with honey barbecue sauce, mozzarella, cheddar jack cheese, pickled hot peppers, green onions and boneless wings coated with more honey barbecue.
Earlier this summer, BWW debuted Bird Dawgs, promoting them as “this is how adults eat chicken fingers.” The hot dog-shaped appetizers, which are filled with chicken tenders instead of a wiener, arrived at the end of June to coincide with the chain’s launch of Happy Hour.
Guests can choose from three options: a Loaded Bird Dawg topped with beer cheese and wild honey mustard; a Honey BBQ Dawg topped with fries and honey BBQ sauce; and a Buffalo Bird Dawg topped with ranch, napa slaw and medium Buffalo sauce. Happy hour patrons are also invited to create their own Bird Dawgs.
“Buffalo Wild Wings is always looking for unique ways to surprise guests. Bird Dawgs showcase the quality of our hand-breaded chicken tenders, signature sauces and indulgent toppings in a whole new way,” Rita Patel, CMO at Buffalo Wild Wings, said in a statement.
But the innovation may have as much to do with the wild fluctuation of bone-in wing prices over the last two years. During the pandemic, chicken processing plants closed and supplies tanked, while a growing crop of virtual wing concepts sprang up to compete for product with chains including BWW and Wingstop.
In 2021, bone-in wings hit a high of $3.22 a pound, up 84% year-over-year. Prices dropped below $2 a pound in 2022, but there’s a lot of volatility with this commodity. And it looks like inflation will continue to have an impact on wholesale prices through the end of the year.
Boneless wings and tenders are cut from the chicken’s breast meat, which will always be more abundant and cost-effective than the actual wings—a chicken is born with only two. So BWW’s move away from wings with its latest bar food additions seems like a smart move.
It also demonstrates a push to accelerate menu innovation and build brand excitement—a lure for customers.
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