Wings, a familiar item in full-service restaurants with a thriving bar business, are fast becoming the new grab-and-go favorites of fast casuals. At least they are for a growing flock of operations looking to trade down from casual dining.
Some 10% of consumers say they’re visiting more restaurants that specialize in chicken, rather than beef, according to Technomic’s Center of the Plate: Poultry Consumer Trend Report. Those restaurants are learning the interest extends to what customers bring home or have delivered to eat in front of the TV. Hence the desire to forgo seating for streamlined grab-and-go facilities.
Here’s a look at some of the fast-casual operations that have been hatched by full-service wings specialists.
1. Hurricane BTW
Florida-based full-service operator Hurricane Grill & Wings, which operates 70 sports bars around the country, just announced this quick-serve, wing-focused spinoff—with grand ambitions for the brand.
After opening a “lab store” in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a year ago, Hurricane BTW is scheduled to launch its first prototype near Chicago next month, with eight to 10 units slated for 2017 and a goal of 49 units in the next three and a half years.
Units will be about 2,000 square feet and will serve burgers and tacos in addition to wings. Beer in bottles, on draft and in 32-ounce sealable crowlers will also be available where permitted.
Hooters is making headlines with its multi-service, wing-centric spinoff, Hoots, which opened earlier this year just outside of Chicago. At Hoots, guests can order at the counter or at tables. The concept also features a full bar and a limited menu of boneless and bone-in wings, chicken sandwiches, Buffalo shrimp and a salad. What it doesn’t have? An all-female waitstaff in tight-fitting uniforms. Hoots, unlike Hooters, employs servers of both genders.
3. Buffalo Wild Wings spinoff
Buffalo Wild Wings, which reported a 38.2% year-over-year drop in net earnings for the fourth quarter, is looking for a moneymaker. It’s hoping to find it in a new limited-service concept that could slide into markets where there’s not enough traffic for full-service locations while saving on build-out costs.
The company is mulling a no-tables concept that would offer only takeout and delivery, noting that off-premise tickets tend to be 30% higher than dine-in ones.
The concept is as-yet-unnamed.