Man Sues Buffalo Wild Wings, Says Its Wings Are Bogus

Because the chain's boneless wings are really made from chicken breasts
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2023 10:15 AM CDT
Man Sues Buffalo Wild Wings, Says Its Wings Are Bogus
Suit argues BWW's boneless wings would be more accurately called "chicken poppers."   (Getty Images/Melissa Kopka)

A Chicago man who expected he was eating boneless chicken wings while dining at Buffalo Wild Wings says what he got was a whole lot closer to chicken nuggets—and he filed a class-action suit Friday over what he alleges is fraud. Aimen Halim says he ordered "boneless wings" while at a Mount Prospect, Illinois, location in January. "Unbeknownst to plaintiff and other consumers, the products are not [deboned] wings at all, but instead, slices of chicken breast meat deep-fried like wings," per the federal suit. "Indeed, the products are more akin, in composition, to a chicken nugget rather than a chicken wing." Halim, and others who might join him, are seeking a jury trial and damages.

  • The argument: Halim isn't just arguing it's a case of false advertising, but false advertising done in pursuit of higher profits, as chicken wings are pricier than chicken breasts.
  • The history: USA Today notes a big wings shift happened after 2008's Great Recession, when the price of chicken breasts went way down but that of wings held steady. Many restaurants transitioned to making "wings" from breast meat and never reverted. In February, the AP cited the National Chicken Council as putting the average price for prepared "boneless [breast meat] wings" at $4.99 a pound versus $8.38 a pound for bone-in wings.
  • It's all in the name: The suit argues that something like "chicken poppers" would be more accurate, and it cites the example of Papa Johns, which offers Buffalo chicken poppers that it describes as made from breast meat. BWW's website describes its boneless wings broadly as "juicy all-white chicken."
  • The upshot: "Had plaintiff and other consumers known that the products are not actually chicken wings, they would have paid less for them, or would not have purchased them at all. Therefore, plaintiff and consumers have suffered injury in fact, as a result of defendants' deceptive practices," the suit notes.
  • BWW's response: No official one, but there's this Monday tweet: "It's true. Our boneless wings are all white meat chicken. Our hamburgers contain no ham. Our buffalo wings are 0% buffalo."
  • Where did wings come from anyway? There's not exactly one answer, but Smithsonian reports we likely have Teressa Bellissimo of Buffalo's Anchor Bar to thank for the 1964 invention. As one popular version goes, instead of received chicken necks—an ingredient in their pasta sauce—wings were delivered, and she invented a bar appetizer rather than throw them out.
(More chicken wings stories.)

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