Can a turn away from traditional wings correct sales at the struggling chain?

Continually plagued by increasing traditional wing prices, Buffalo Wild Wings is going boneless.

While the brand’s half-price Wing Tuesday has driven traffic to locations, historically high wing costs have lowered restaurant margins. Beginning in August, the brand will replace half-price wings with a Boneless BOGO offering Tuesdays in company-owned locations.

READ MORE: A rough second quarter sends shares of BWW plummeting.

Boneless wings outsold traditional wings at company restaurants in 2016, and Buffalo Wild Wings anticipate the transition will decrease cost of sales from 32.1 percent in Q2 2017 to 31.5 percent in the third quarter.  While traditional wings comprise 31 percent of Buffalo Wild Wings’ cost of sales, boneless wings are only about 13 percent.

In the first quarter of this year, CEO Sally Smith said in a conference call that the brand was testing other promotional items for this Tuesday offer instead of bone-in wings, but the “only thing that moves the needle on Tuesdays is the traditional wing.”

The brand is confident with the move, however, chief operating officer James Schmidt said in a conference call.

“We now skew as a system to boneless over traditional. If you look beyond promotional days, [boneless] is a more popular item with customers,” Schmidt said. “Over the last eight months, we’ve run a number of single day events, our BOGO Blitz, which feature boneless wings and it was incredibly well received by our customers.”

Casual Dining, Chain Restaurants, Feature, Buffalo Wild Wings