According to the National Restaurant Association, two-thirds of understaffed full-service restaurant operators say the ongoing labor shortage is having a significant impact on their business.
Back-of-house, this can mean decreased morale, spotty training, and inconsistent food preparation—tarnishing the restaurant’s brand image and reputation as much as front-of-house customer service issues might. “An inadequately trained staff or less experienced kitchen staff can really cause issues with the finished product coming out of the kitchen,” says Tom Bell, vice president of prepared food sales at Wayne-Sanderson Farms.
Wings are an especially troublesome problem area. Frozen raw wing sections take a relatively long time to cook, and in an understaffed kitchen, this is essentially wasted time that an employee could otherwise use to help out at other stations. It’s also common for restaurants to receive a range of wing sizes, which can cause havoc with the fryer times and temperatures. Smaller wings may come out overcooked; larger wings may come out undercooked.
“If a customer leaves the restaurant thinking about being served a raw wing, there’s a good chance they’re never coming back,” Bell says.
Fully cooked wings help ensure that customers don’t receive an undercooked product. They’re easier to prepare—even inexperienced staff can execute with consistency. They’re also faster to serve, freeing employees up for other tasks. Bell explains that Wayne-Sanderson Farms’ pre-cooked wings need about 50 percent less time in the fryer than typical frozen raw wings.
“We design our products with ease of handling in mind for the back of the house,” Bell says. Wayne-Sanderson Farms, an Oakwood, Georgia-based company that has sold 2.6 billion pounds of chicken, offers a line of fully cooked chicken wings that help restaurant operators save on labor and deliver a consistent experience to their customers, every time. This line includes Crispy Fliers, which come breaded and ready for sauce customization, as well as Buffaloos Hot and Spicy, marinated with a spicy glaze, and Fly’n Saucers, fully customizable steamed wings. These three products are all available in bone-in and boneless versions.
Wayne-Sanderson Farms’ pre-cooked wings are also consistently sized—a win-win scenario for kitchen staff as well as the customer experience. To achieve this, male and female birds are separated into different grow-out areas. “This allows us to shorten the bell curve on sizing,” Bell says. “That definitely helps us produce more consistently sized wing sections.”
Most of Wayne-Sanderson Farms’ fully cooked wings are steam-cooked at their facility, a process which helps lock in moisture for a juicy, flavorful wing experience. “This ends up giving you a really nice moist finished product after it comes out of the fryer,” Bell says. He adds that this also contributes to extending the life of the frying oil in the kitchen.
“Raw wings impart more moisture or liquid into the oil, which in turn breaks the oil down,” he says. “With Wayne-Sanderson Farms’ fully cooked wings, we’re cutting the fry time almost in half. Our wings help operators extend the lifespan of their oil each week. There are many different ways a fully cooked wing can benefit operators and generate more profit.”
To learn more, visit the Wayne-Sanderson Farms website.