Consumer demand for chicken wings during the pandemic continues to be brisk, at least according to preliminary Q3 sales results released Tuesday by Wingstop.
Wingstop’s success story during this crisis continues, with same-store sales up 25.4% for the quarter ended Sept. 26 and up 22.5% for the year to date. Systemwide sales climbed 32.8% during the period, to $509.2 million.
Plus, the Dallas-based chain opened 43 net new stores during Q3.
“I am thankful for the support of our team members and brand partners in achieving these extraordinary results during these difficult times,” CEO Charlie Morrison said in a statement. “We remain focused on executing against our growth strategies and our vision of becoming a top 10 global restaurant brand.”
Wingstop has seen strong momentum during the pandemic, reporting same-store sales growth of nearly 32% during its second quarter. The chain’s success comes as a host of operators are launching delivery-only wing concepts to capitalize on the apparent demand.
Wingstop, of course, was doing OK pre-pandemic. It has now logged more than 16 years of positive same-store sales. But its sales exploded once the coronavirus crisis began and stuck-at-home consumers started looking for craveable, inexpensive dishes that could feed a family.
Wings have the added bonus of traveling well, making them a near-perfect food for takeout and delivery.
To that end, Wingstop reported that digital sales now make up 62% of its business for Q3, about even with the previous quarter. The chain has kept all of its dining rooms closed amid the pandemic.
Wingstop had 1,308 U.S. units, all but 31 one of them franchisee-operated, as of Sept. 26.
The company is slated to discuss its Q3 earnings with analysts on Nov. 2.