COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The nation is seeing a shortage of chicken wings and rise in restaurant supplies prices across the board. Local businesses are preparing for the next several weeks as they’ve been told it will only get worse.
Melinda Newton, Owner of Minnie’s Uptown and The Chicken Lady’s Coop said she’s experienced a price increase on everything from chicken breast to the oil used for frying. She said chicken breast is up 15-20 cents and chicken wings have nearly doubled in price.
Newton said chicken suppliers are seeing lack of employees and an increased demand, which is causing the shortage.
“So now we have a high demand for chicken as the entire country is opening up now this, from what we’re hearing, is only going to get worse for the next 4 to 6 weeks because the demand is so high right now and then the production is at an all time low so we have a crisis.” said Newton.
Tom Super a spokesperson for the National Chicken Council said there’s a multitude of reasons for the lack of chicken. One of them being the winter storm that hit Texas this year.
Super’s statement reads in part: “Wing supplies are tight, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say there is a “shortage.” Chicken producers are doing everything they can to overcome the devastating impact of Mother Nature when she inflicted the once in a lifetime winter storm on Texas and nearby states – major chicken producing regions. It will take time and effort to eventually replace the impacted hatchery supply flocks in that region, but supply should catch back up to demand soon.”
Super also said we should make note that this event happened right after the Super Bowl, when wings are high in demand.
However, Newton said the increase in prices is not just hitting wing joints. Her restaurants offer items like chicken sandwiches and pork chops, and she is personally taking the hit.
“It hits me as the owner, this comes, this one comes straight from my pocket book I don’t, I don’t throw it back onto the customer until I can’t sustain it anymore,” said Newton.
Sanjay Choudhury owner of Wild Wing Cafe said his franchise is preparing for the next four to six weeks, but he still is not entirely sure how they will go, especially for smaller wing businesses.
“So they have stored enough I guess for the next 4 to 6 weeks, but if it is a non franchise obviously they will definitely have a tough time.”
Choudhury added that quantity isn’t the only thing he’s noticed, he has noticed a difference in quality of the wings he’s receiving as well.