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Wingstop tests chicken thighs to offset soaring US wing prices

[NEW YORK] Wingstop Inc - a restaurant chain that primarily sells, well, wings - is testing bone-in chicken thighs to help stabilize costs as prices for wings remain particularly volatile.

The company, which said in February it would be trialling the new thigh product this year, has been dealing with inflation in bone-in chicken wings. In addition to adding thighs to the menu in some markets, Wingstop has also responded to the fluctuating wing costs by raising some prices for consumers and negotiating with poultry suppliers, it said.

Chicken wing prices have been rising steadily this year, especially as more restaurant chains launch wing-only delivery services during the pandemic. Wholesale wing prices in the Northeast are at the highest since at least 2010, according to Department of Agriculture data.

"We will continue to find more ways to deliver against our long-term strategy to mitigate volatility and food costs such as the introduction of a new product, bone-in thighs, which is in test in several markets today," Chief Executive Officer Charles Morrison said on the company's earnings call Monday after it reported revenue for the third quarter that met the average analyst estimate.

The thigh test began about two weeks ago in seven markets across the US, a spokeswoman for the company said.

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Wingstop shares dropped 2.4 per cent on Monday as of 11:08 a m in New York, after climbing 35 per cent this year through Friday's close.

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