MoneyDon't Waste Your Money


DWYM: Start clucking about chicken wing shortages

Posted at 2:41 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 15:43:59-04

A popular party food favorite is also now in short supply and it could impact you next time you sit down to watch a big sporting event.

Consumer reporter John Matarese explains why chicken wings may soon be off the menu in some restaurant, so you don't waste your money.

It's getting hard to keep track of all the things in short supply as we come out of the pandemic.

Lumber, furniture, computer chips and now chicken wings.

Wings are as American as cold beer.

But suddenly these delicacies -- served with celery and ranch of course -- are in short supply.

"The chicken producers are having problems opening up their production lines," pub owner Jason Esterkamp explains, adding that the same labor shortage hitting restaurants is hitting chicken processing plants.

"So just like the rest of us are having trouble finding employees, this is where it’s really coming from. They don't have the workforce to open all their lines."

Add to it that wings are more popular than ever, and you have the latest pandemic shortage.

"All I can tell you is that wings are hard to come by, and they are extremely expensive," Esterkamp said.

So why is there a shortage of chicken wings, but not chicken breasts?

A restaurant like this will sell several hundred chicken breasts per week. But in that same week they'll sell well more than 10,000 chicken wings.

"We haven't had any issue with chicken breasts," Esterkamp said.

That's good news for grocery shoppers. But trade publication Restaurant Business warns that a massive wing shortage is brewing.

Some restaurants are limiting take-out orders, while the Bojangles chain recently tweeted that their wings "will be back soon."

Esterkamp is hoping it won’t come to that.

"To date, we have yet to run out of chicken wings," he said. "Our biggest issue is the cost of chicken wings."

Jason says he won't switch to cheap warehouse club wings, but may have to raise prices if the shortage continues.

So be careful and as always don’t waste your money.