By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A national chicken wing shortage is forcing one of Buffalo Bills Quarterback Josh Allen’s favorite wing joints to switch to thighs. At least temporarily.
Weitzel’s Wings — also called “Double Dubs” — announced this week that it would have to sell chicken thighs for the rest of the week because the company has been unable to obtain sufficient supplies of affordable wings.
But owner Trent Weitzel, who will have trucks in Laramie, Cheyenne and Rawlins this weekend, said he is not too worried about the reaction of his customers.
“People have told me before that I could put my sauce on anything and they would eat it, so the response has been pretty good since I made the post (Wednesday) night,” Weitzel told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday.
He said that the wing shortage has been an issue since the beginning of the year, with prices of wings slowly ticking upward. As a result, he has had to raise the price of his own wings.
However, with the price of wings being up around 90%, Weitzel had to decide whether to increase the price to at least $2 per wing or sell thighs in the meantime. He chose the latter, because he couldn’t justify the higher price, although he knows his wings are worth it, an assessment shared by Allen, who was a regular at “Double Dubs” while attending the University of Wyoming.
As a matter of fact, it was Allen who in 2019 helped Weitzel garner a spot in the Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, New York, where Weitzel claimed the title for best traditional medium sauce, along with three other awards.
According to a Wall Street Journal article published earlier this month, chicken suppliers across the nation are struggling to find enough workers, resulting in the wing shortage.
Weitzel said all three of his suppliers reported problems finding workers, as some people are making more money with unemployment insurance from both the state and federal governments than they can by working.
“So now, I’m only allocated 50 boxes of wings per week, and normally, I’ll go through 100 in a week,” Weitzel said.
While the situation is frustrating, Weitzel does not see this being a permanent issue. Many states are now doing away with COVID-related unemployment benefits (Wyoming included), so people will soon going back to work.
In the meantime, it is possible that a customer might get a Weitzel thigh instead of a wing over the next few weeks. The food truck owner wasn’t sure whether he would continue offering thighs on the on the menu and said it would depend on customer response.