Chicken wings more expensive than ever - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Chicken wings more expensive than ever

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest days of the year for restaurants that specialize in making game day appetizers, such as wings.  But a growing trend in the chicken industry is forcing them to adjust accordingly.

"Wing prices have been going up drastically over the last few weeks and especially right at Super Bowl time you see a good little increase and that's what's happened.  From what we're seeing so far, we're definitely paying a lot more than we did," said Wing Stop owner, Ed Miller.

Chicken farmers nationwide have recently been raising bigger chickens, but less of them. Last summer's drought caused an increase in the price of chicken feed, leading farmers to decrease the number of beaks to feed.

The same amount of chicken meat is being produced, but not as much of it is in wing form.  It's forcing restaurants to get creative and offer new options in order to extend their wing supply.

"We have boneless wings now as well, and that seems to help with the up-sell a little bit for our wings," said Jessica Morris, manager of Pickle Barrel.

The Wall Street Journal says the number of frozen wings supplied to restaurants was up over 68% at the end of 2012.  The chicken dilemma is making an already busy day even more complicated.

"We bring in every employee, they have to work today.  It's in the employee handbook.  It's just one of those days when you have to get everybody here, but you're just making sure that you stay organized and you're prepared for it," said Miller.

"We've got extra staff in here today, got a few guys working here still, we've got prepping going on for our boneless wings, our tailgate specials. We've got extra orders in, extra sauce going, just extra manpower to get this stuff done tonight," said Tynan Owen, Pickle Barrel kitchen manager.

Customers traditionally expect a specific number of wings in their order. But with wings rapidly increasing in size, it's changing everything we used to know about how many will feed the Super Bowl party.

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