Marketing

Buffalo Wild Wings tempts fate with all-you-can-eat wings deal

The casual-dining chain is taking a cue from none other than Red Lobster by offering bottomless wings for $20. “What can go wrong?” it said.
Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant
The deal will be available to dine-in guests on Mondays and Wednesdays for a limited time. | Photo: Shutterstock

Red Lobster is probably not the best place to look to for marketing inspiration right now. But Buffalo Wild Wings is doing it anyway.

Starting this week, the 1,264-unit casual-dining chain began offering all-you-can-eat boneless wings and fries for $19.99 to guests who dine in on Mondays and Wednesdays.

The limited-time deal is similar to the $20 Endless Shrimp promotion that has become shorthand for Red Lobster’s recent problems. The deal proved effective at bringing guests into the seafood chain’s restaurants last summer, but the price was too low and it lost money, adding to Red Lobster’s already tenuous financial situation. The chain this week closed dozens of stores and is now reportedly headed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Buffalo Wild Wings is aware of the risk it’s taking, and having some fun with. “Please don’t bankrupt us,” B-Dubs wrote on X (formerly Twitter) while promoting the meal Monday.

The chain’s generosity has gotten it into trouble before. In 2017, it ended a popular half-price wings deal that ran on Tuesdays, saying that while it drove traffic, the high price of bone-in wings made the special too costly.

It has run other wing deals since then, usually involving boneless wings, which are less prone to price fluctuations than the bone-in variety.

But the introduction of an all-you-can-eat deal is bold and shows just how important value has become in casual dining and the industry at large.

Applebee’s, for instance, is in the midst of its $1 margarita promotion, while Chili’s is trying to compete with fast food with a burger that mimics the Big Mac.

Not to be outdone, McDonald’s is planning its own $5 meal deal after losing traffic to begin the year.

Now Buffalo Wild Wings is taking its own stab at winning over price-conscious consumers.

The all-you-can-eat wings deal does have some limitations to prevent guests from going overboard. It’s only for dine-in, can’t be shared with multiple people, and leftovers can’t be taken to go.

In another post on X referencing Red Lobster’s all-you-can-eat shrimp fiasco and impending bankruptcy, Buffalo Wild Wings wondered out loud about its own bottomless promotion: “What could go wrong?”

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