1/10/2013 4:45 PM ET|
Buffalo Wild Wings undaunted by McDonald's
The Minnesota chain's stock has greatly outperformed the Golden Arches. It's not intimidated by the 'Mighty Wings' experiment.
"Our growth and success demonstrates the demand and growing popularity of chicken wings among consumers," says Kathy Benning, the company's executive vice president of global brand and business development, in statement to MSN Money. "It's no surprise that others want to tap into something we've known for years: people love wings."
Benning is right of course.
Chicken wings are surging in popularity and McDonald's, which has been struggling lately, could use a hit. The company has begun a month-long test of what it calls "Mighty Wings" at 500 restaurants in the Chicago area following an earlier successful test in Atlanta.
McDonald's posted its first monthly sales drop in October in nine years. The company posted a better-than-expected sales gain in November but analysts aren't sure if the chain is out of the woods.
The National Chicken Council, a trade group, estimated that more than 25 billion wing portions were sold last year. During Super Bowl Sunday alone, more than 1.25 billion portions were consumed. Think of it this way: If all those wings were lined up end-to-end, they would circle the circumference of the earth more than twice. A sports talk radio station in Philadelphia, 94 WIP, has for 21 years sponsored a competitive wing eating contest dubbed Wing Bowl. The event is scheduled for Feb. 1 at the city's Wells Fargo Center and is sold out.
Buffalo Wild Wings, which sells more than 21 million traditional and boneless wings each week, is a Wall Street favorite. Shares of the Minnesota chain have surged more than 12% over the past year compared with an 8.2% decline for McDonald's. The smaller chain's performance is remarkable given that Wall Street was spooked after the company reported weaker-than-expected results in the third quarter.
The casual-dining chain is a favorite among sports fans. It has been steadily raising prices and is expecting 2012 earnings growth of 15%.
And that ain't chicken feed.
--Jonathan Berr owns a McNugget-sized stake in McDonald's. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr
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