If the last few years have fueled the wars of the fried chicken sandwich, 2023 is shaping out to be a boon for the wing lovers.
In the last year, Yum! Brands-owned Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A and Popeyes have all either launched or brought back some type of wing item to their menus.
DON’T MISS: Taco Bell Delays Menu Return of Unique Fan Favorite
The Restaurant Brands International-owned fried chicken chain Popeyes back in 2014 first introduced its Ghost Pepper Wings as a limited-time promotion.
Spicy Popeyes Favorite Is Making A Reappearance
Fried in a crispy buttermilk coating and a spice blend featuring the Scoville-topping ghost pepper, the pieces of bone-in chicken have become an instant fan favorite among spice lovers but have never stayed on the Popeyes menu for longer than a couple of months.
The “get it while you can” factor as well as endless plays on the word “hot” have helped the fast-food chain drive up demand for the wings before taking them off the menu.
As first reported by the fast food industry site Chewboom, the Ghost Pepper Wings are once again reappearing at Popeyes restaurants around the country this summer.
Despite the rising price of poultry meat, the price will reportedly remain the same $4.99 for an order of six wings. The dish will also, as every time it is brought back, come with a side order of buttermilk ranch for dipping (and, according to Popeyes, mitigating the spice.)
“Our Ghost Pepper Wings have been a fan favorite amongst our guests, combining the perfect amount of spice and flavor for wing lovers,” Popeyes North American President Sami Siddiqui said when the wings were introduced at the start of 2023.
Here’s Why So Many Chains Are Putting Chicken Wings on Their Menus
Information on when the wings will be available has not yet been released by Popeyes, but the chain is also reportedly adding a new mango-flavored lemonade to its drink offering. The sweet drink will be made with a base of Minute Maid lemonade and come in both a chilled and frozen slushy version.
While chains like Wingstop and Buffalo Wild Wings have always served them, chicken wings have recently also become a popular menu item at fast-food chains that do not specialize them.
When Taco Bell first tried adding queso-coated chicken wings to its menu at the start of 2022, demand was so strong that the chain ran out in just a couple of days and prompted constant demands for them to make a return.
The competing chicken wing dishes reflect a general industry effort to recreate the phenomenon that the fried chicken sandwich set off in 2019.
After Popeyes’ take of fried chicken on a bun with sauce and two slices of pickle caused round-the-block lineups, many chains tried to cash in on the viral success. Even definitively non-chicken chains like Starbucks and Panera came out with their own version.
“Something like the chicken sandwich took multiple years to go from ideation to actually being in our restaurants,” Siddiqui told TheStreet in an exclusive interview in May 2022. “[…] Once [our recipe developers] come up with things, it goes to sensory testing and eventually market testing and operational testing to see what kind of impact it will have on our franchisees and profitability.”
TheStreet, Inc. All rights reserved. Action Alerts PLUS is a registered trademark of TheStreet, Inc.
This story was originally published May 1, 2023, 1:50 PM.
Read the full article here