McDonald’s to Add Chicken Wings Across U.S. Next Month

McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) plans to introduce bone-in chicken wings across the U.S. next month as Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson revamps the restaurant chain’s domestic menu.

The Big Mac seller will start the Mighty Wings rollout Sept. 9, have the items in all U.S. stores by Sept. 24 and keep them on sale through November, Ofelia Casillas, a McDonald’s spokeswoman, said in an e-mail today. The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company tested the wings in Atlanta and Chicago.

Thompson, who became CEO in July 2012, has been overhauling McDonald’s menu to boost sales in its home market, where it has about 14,100 locations. While the chain recently removed Angus third-pounder burgers from its bill of fare, it also has added egg-white breakfast sandwiches and chicken McWraps. Competitors including Popeyes, owned by AFC Enterprises Inc. (AFCE), and Wendy’s Co. also have introduced new chicken items this year.

“They’re being more innovative, and they’re being more aggressive with the changes on their menu,” Peter Saleh, an analyst at New York-based Telsey Advisory Group, said in an interview. “This is good news because it’s in conjunction with the football season.”

McDonald’s, the world’s largest restaurant chain, rose 0.2 percent to $95.31 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 8 percent this year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has advanced 16 percent.

Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg

An employee hands a drive-thru customer his order at a McDonald's Corp. restaurant in Oak Brook, Illinois. Close

An employee hands a drive-thru customer his order at a McDonald's Corp. restaurant in... Read More

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Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg

An employee hands a drive-thru customer his order at a McDonald's Corp. restaurant in Oak Brook, Illinois.

Chili Pepper

The wings are flavored with cayenne and chili pepper and come with sauces including creamy ranch, honey mustard and tangy barbecue. They will be sold in three-, five- or 10-piece packs, starting at $2.99.

A national chicken wing introduction may mean higher costs for other restaurants. Chicken wing prices could rise to $2 a pound by January, Farha Aslam, a New York-based analyst at Stephens Inc., said in an e-mail. Benchmark Georgia dock wholesale chicken wing prices were at $1.44 a pound today.

McDonald’s Mighty Wings promotion “will be supportive to wing prices,” she said today.

The company on Aug. 8 said U.S. same-store sales rose 1.6 percent in July. Sales at stores open at least 13 months were helped by new items, the company said in a statement.

McDonald’s, which gets about 32 percent of revenue from the U.S., is increasingly vying for the American consumer with Wendy’s, Burger King Worldwide Inc. (BKW) and other fast-food chains. Along with egg white sandwiches and McWraps, it has this year introduced new flavors of Quarter Pounder burgers and blueberry pomegranate smoothies to lure diners.

The chain has faced a backlash from its store owners when its menu gets too large or complex. McDonald’s menu has grown from nine items in 1948 as the chain has experimented with new foods. Some, such as such as pizza and spaghetti, have flopped and been removed.

BurgerBusiness.com reported the national wing introduction earlier, citing a McDonald’s franchisee posting on Facebook.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie Patton in Chicago at lpatton5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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