How Buffalo Wild Wings can avoid Red Lobster’s mistakes

Endless chicken wings will hopefully result in profits, not bankruptcy.

Doughman Headshot3 Headshot
Buffalo Wild Wings Exterior
Buffalo Wild Wings

Just days after Red Lobster filed for bankruptcy, Buffalo Wild Wings began offering endless chicken wings. The move seems risky, given that the seafood chain’s demise was largely attributed to its bottomless shrimp campaign.

The Buffalo Wild Wings deal, available on Mondays and Wednesdays for dine-in only through June 30, includes all-you-can-eat boneless chicken wings and fries for $19.99.  The chicken wing chain seems aware of the similarities between the two promotions, pleading “pls don’t bankrupt us” on Instagram.

Regardless, there are things that Buffalo Wild Wings should be paying attention to in order to avoid Red Lobster’s fate.

Where Red Lobster mis-stepped

The endless shrimp promotion at Red Lobster was a successful annual limited offer for over 20 years. However, the chain’s solo seafood supplier convinced Red Lobster to make the promotion year-round as a way to sell off excess shrimp, leading to higher costs.

“This decision created both operational and financial issues for [Red Lobster]… saddling the company with burdensome supply obligations,” according to the Red Lobster bankruptcy filing.

Higher costs meant fewer waitstaff and longer wait times for consumers. Adding in an all-you-can-eat deal that was more popular than originally anticipated spelled disaster for the chain.

Lessons to learn

If Buffalo Wild Wings can learn anything from this debacle, it’s that supplier relations are crucial to success. Good chicken suppliers know that they depend on foodservice brands for business and are willing to adjust accordingly.

For example, back at the beginning of the chicken sandwich wars, suppliers didn’t demand that foodservice brands change what they sell to match output, they moved toward smaller chickens to meet demand.

As for me, I’m looking forward to some endless chicken wings.

Page 1 of 9
Next Page