Buffalo Wild Wings is a restaurant that has a reputation for two things: chicken wings and tons of TVs.
For many sports fans, it’s the go-to place to watch several different games at once while enjoying beer and chicken.
If you’ve never been to Buffalo Wild Wings before, then you may be surprised when looking at the prices on their menu.
Wings cost anywhere from $10 to over $40.
Here are 10 reasons Buffalo Wild Wings is so expensive.
Why Is Buffalo Wild Wings So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. Price Based On Number
One of the reasons Buffalo Wild Wings is expensive is because they base their prices on the number of wings that you order.
This wasn’t always the case.
Back in the day, Buffalo Wild Wings priced their wings based on weight.
However, this proved too costly and confusing for their workers.
They’d rely on their employees to cut each piece of chicken to exact proportions to ensure they had the right weights.
This meant that employees would spend a lot of time cutting chicken to order instead of cooking it and getting it out to the customers.
There was also some vagueness on what the correct weight of orders should be.
For example, different employees would have different ideas about what the weight of a small, medium, or large order would be.
Now that the company uses the number of wings to base their prices on, some customers still feel like they’re paying more than what they get.
That’s because it doesn’t matter how large or small the chicken wings are.
If there are 20 wings on a plate, Buffalo Wild Wings is going to charge the customer for all 20 wings.
This can make some customers who receive 20 small wings feel cheated for the price that they’re paying.
Buffalo Wild Wings is expensive because they charge their customers by the number of wings that they buy rather than the weight.
2. Chicken Populations Due To Climate Change
Climate change is also affecting the prices at Buffalo Wild Wings.
In particular, it’s affecting the state of Texas.
In the past few years, Texas has experienced colder winters than the state normally has.
This is a problem because Texas is one of the leading producers of chickens—and thus, chicken wings.
Normally, Texas has a mild to hot climate which keeps the chickens healthy throughout the year.
Because of the colder temperatures, however, it’s caused many of the chickens to fall ill or even die.
This has led to decreased chicken populations, which means fewer chicken wings are on the market for sale.
As a result, restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings find themselves having to pay more for chicken wings.
Since there’s a smaller supply but a lot of demand, the prices for chicken wings increase.
Buffalo Wild Wings has to pay higher prices to buy the wings.
To make up for their cost, they charge higher prices for their wing meals to cover their expenses.
Climate and weather are difficult things to control.
With climate change already occurring, it’s difficult to predict how it’s going to impact chicken populations in the future.
For example, if colder winters in Texas become the new norm, it can affect the chicken industry for years to come.
Buffalo Wild Wings is expensive because of a chicken wing shortage caused by climate change.
3. COVID-19 Shutdowns
Besides chicken populations having problems due to climate change, chicken processing plants also faced problems.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many chicken factories had to either shut down or reduce their workforce.
When a worker became ill with the disease, the entire facility had to shut down to keep it from spreading.
In most cases, they had to remain shut down for at least two weeks.
If any other worker caught the disease, then they’d have to remain shut down a bit longer.
This was to reduce the chances of the virus spreading from one worker to the next.
Some chicken factories also reduced their workforce.
For some factories, it was because they weren’t receiving as many orders as before.
During the initial stages of the lockdown, people weren’t going to restaurants.
That meant that chicken factories no longer had restaurants buying their chicken.
To keep costs low, they had to let go of some of their workers.
Others had to reduce labor to decrease the chances of a virus outbreak.
This all became problematic when restaurants either reopened or switched to takeout and delivery services.
Suddenly, the chicken was in high demand and factories weren’t ready to supply them.
There was a limit on chicken available which caused the price to soar.
Restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings found themselves having to pay more for their chicken wings.
As a result, they had to raise their menu prices to cover those expenses.
Buffalo Wild Wings is expensive because of how the lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the supply of chicken wings.
4. Changing Eating Habits
The COVID-19 pandemic also changed the eating habits of everyday people.
Early on, restaurants realized that chicken wings were an ideal takeout food.
At the time, they were cheap to buy and easy to deliver.
Because they were small, delivery drivers could fill their cars with orders and take them to their respective destinations.
This allowed them to get more orders out in less time and earn a profit.
Consumers found ordering wings to be agreeable, too.
They were able to get a pretty good stack of food at cheap prices.
They’re also easy to dish out.
Ordering delivery became popular during the pandemic because people were unable to go to sit-down restaurants.
They had to cook at home.
When people grew tired of home-cooked meals, they looked to restaurants that offered takeout and delivery services instead.
Buffalo Wild Wings was among those that offered delivery services.
The problem with these changing eating habits is that restaurants were quickly running out of the chicken wings that they kept in cold storage.
Their supply and backup supply were running out.
The change from home cooking or sit-down restaurant meals to fast-casual chicken wings meant that there was a sudden increase in demand for chicken wings.
With supply problems occurring because of the pandemic and weather, restaurants soon found themselves unable to provide wings for their customers.
While demand for chicken wings has always been there, the change in eating habits among a large number of people put a strain on the supply chain.
With fewer chicken wings up for sale, it meant prices increased.
Buffalo Wild Wings is expensive because the American public started eating more chicken wings during the pandemic.
5. Lack Of Chicken Meat Farmers
Some Buffalo Wild Wing restaurants may have more expensive menu prices than others due to a lack of regional chicken meat farmers.
For example, in New Hampshire, there are lots of chicken farmers.
However, most of those chicken farmers produce eggs and not chicken meat.
As a result, the Buffalo Wild Wing restaurants in that region would likely have more expensive prices since they need to pay more money to get their chicken wings.
Buffalo Wild Wing restaurants that are in states where there is a high number of chicken meat farmers have slightly lower prices.
That’s because they’re close to the source, and the source has a large supply of chicken meat to offer.
Some farmers prefer to sell eggs because it’s easier and faster.
They don’t have to wait for chickens to reach a certain weight before slaughtering them.
As soon as their chickens start laying eggs, they can start selling them.
Chicken meat is a bit more complex and expensive since the farmer has to keep breeding a new supply.
However, the lack of chicken meat farmers in a given state or region impacts the prices at Buffalo Wild Wings.
Buffalo Wild Wings is expensive because of the lack of chicken meat farmers in certain regions.
6. High Beef Prices
Chicken isn’t the only meat that’s making Buffalo Wild Wings raise its prices.
Although the restaurant is best known for its wings, it also offers hamburgers and other typical bar food.
However, its burgers are also facing higher prices.
That has to do with the rising cost of beef.
There are a few factors behind high beef prices.
The first is, of course, the pandemic.
When restaurants closed down, beef farmers found themselves with a lack of demand.
It threatened to put some out of business since they were taking on more costs than revenue.
It forced farmers to cull their herds to reduce costs.
This became a problem when restaurants rebounded by offering takeout services and delivery.
They suddenly had a lot of demand for little meat.
Drought also impacted the costs of their business since many beef farms are in areas heavily impacted by drought.
Without water to keep their cows healthy, farmers have had to import water from elsewhere.
This has only further increased the cost of their farms.
Whenever a drought occurs, it also impacts the available grass for cows to feed on.
To keep their cows fed, some farmers import grains.
Grains are in short supply, too, thanks to the drought in the western part of the United States, among other things.
Since grain is more expensive, feeding cows is more expensive.
With high expenses to account for, farmers have had no choice but to sell their beef at higher prices.
A limited supply of beef is also impacting its price.
Restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings buy the beef at inflated prices and then have to raise their own prices, too.
Buffalo Wild Wings is expensive because of the rising price of beef.
7. Missed Revenue
Buffalo Wild Wings, like many other restaurants, lost revenue during the pandemic.
When restaurants had to shut down, Buffalo Wild Wings was among them.
While some of the restaurants had a takeout window, others didn’t.
At its heart, the restaurant catered to those wanting to sit down and enjoy sports with the rest of the diners.
However, as the pandemic continued, they signed on with delivery apps to help bring their food to people at home.
This allowed them to bring in some revenue but not to the amount that they usually take in.
In fact, some Buffalo Wild Wing restaurants in Chicago have taken to suing their insurance provider.
They claimed that providers refused to cover the revenue they lost during the pandemic.
Other restaurants have also joined Buffalo Wild Wings in the lawsuit.
While the restaurant doesn’t state how much revenue is lost, there’s no question that the restaurant, regardless of its location, lost money.
One of the reasons prices at Buffalo Wild Wings are high is that they’re trying to make up for the revenue they lost.
They likely incurred some debts that they need to pay off as well as cover the ongoing costs of running the restaurant.
The only way they can do that quickly is to raise menu prices.
Buffalo Wild Wings is expensive because they increased menu prices to help make up for the revenue they lost during the pandemic.
8. Delivery Expenses
Another reason the prices at Buffalo Wild Wings are expensive is their use of delivery apps.
You can order Buffalo Wild Wings in a few different ways.
The restaurant makes it easy by ordering through their online store.
After putting in your address, you can then order the food you want from their online menu.
After you checkout, the restaurant will give you an estimated time as well as the final price for your order.
You’ll notice a delivery charge on it.
You can also order through UberEats which will deliver the food to you.
Buffalo Wild Wings is expensive because they have to share a portion of the delivery expense with the company they’re using to deliver their food.
In most cases, it’s UberEats.
To make up for the lack of profit through delivery, they have increased pricing.
Delivery charges can also be expensive depending on how large your order is and how far from Buffalo Wild Wings you are.
Essentially, the further you are, the more the driver has to drive.
That means more gas costs and taking up more of the driver’s time.
Your Buffalo Wild Wing order is already expensive thanks to the increased prices caused by delivery services.
With delivery charges and tips, your order becomes even more expensive.
Buffalo Wild Wings is expensive because of its delivery expenses.
9. High Potato Prices
It isn’t just the main dish at Buffalo Wild Wings that is seeing high prices either.
The restaurant’s sides are also seeing high prices.
Fries, alone, can start at $5 and only go up from there.
One of the reasons that their potato sides are expensive is the rising price of potatoes.
Potato prices have increased over the past few years due to problems with drought, increased demand, and the pandemic.
Many restaurants rely on the cheap prices of potatoes to make their businesses affordable.
They’re able to buy bulk potatoes cheaply and keep their menus affordable.
As potato prices increase, the restaurant has no choice but to raise their prices, too, to keep generating a profit.
This is occurring at Buffalo Wild Wings, too, albeit at higher percentages than other restaurants.
Buffalo Wild Wings tends to have a higher markup price than other restaurants as it is.
When food prices rise, their markup also increases to keep generating the same profit.
Like other high food prices, it may take a few years before the price of potatoes goes back down to pre-pandemic prices.
Buffalo Wild Wings is expensive because of the higher cost of potatoes.
Fans of Buffalo Wild Wings claim that you primarily go to the restaurant for the experience rather than the food.
While the wings are a great benefit, it’s really the incredible number of TVs, projection screens, and fellow fans that make the restaurant an enjoyable place to eat.
Buffalo Wild Wings leans into its sports theme as much as it can, too.
It encourages its diners to be loud and have fun.
Due to its large number of TVs, sports fans can watch several games at the same time.
This is ideal for fans who run into a problem with two games airing at the same time.
It’s also ideal for those who can’t watch a certain game because they don’t have the right channel or cable package.
The large projection screens that the bar boasts also allow fans to watch games as if they were sitting in a movie theater.
They’re able to see every inch of action as it happens.
When you eat at Buffalo Wild Wings, you’re essentially paying for more than just the food.
You’re also paying for the experience.
Buffalo Wild Wings is expensive because of the experience it offers.
How To Save Money At Buffalo Wild Wings
If you have a craving for Buffalo Wild Wings but need to watch your budget, then there are a few things you can do to save money at the restaurant.
Buffalo Wild Wings has two deals that occur every Tuesday and Thursday.
On Tuesday, they have a “BOGO 50% off” traditional wings deal which they call Wing Tuesdays.
You’re able to buy one traditional set of wings and get another order for half off.
This is an ideal way to save money if you need a lot of wings.
On Thursday, which they call Boneless Thursdays, you can buy one order of boneless wings and get another free.
If you like boneless wings, then Thursday is a great deal for you.
Finally, you should also choose the pickup option when ordering at Buffalo Wild Wings.
This avoids the delivery charges as well as any extra tips that you may need to pay.
All you pay for is the food that you want.
Buffalo Wild Wings has a problem with high prices on their wings and other food.
Chicken shortages and other high food prices are part of the problem causing them to raise their prices.
If you order wings on Tuesday and Thursday, however, you can get a lot of food much cheaper.