The Big Game is coming, and wings are a menu must-have. Satisfy sports fans and score more sales by taking a page out of the playbook for trophy-worthy wings.
Football fans may not agree on who’s going to win the Big Game this year, but one thing is for sure, most want chicken wings to fire up the party. In fact, according to the National Chicken Council, about 1.42 billion wings were eaten during last year’s game, so it’s safe to say this finger-food favorite is your ticket to boost sales and get customers in the door.
Bring the Heat
Spicy foods have always played well on menus. With fiery flavors found on more than 70% of restaurant menus, heat seekers are always on the hunt for the next spicy trends, so it’s important to bring your ‘A’ game. Frank’s RedHot® Buffalo Wings Sauce is a staple and pairs well with smoked, grilled, or fried wings. And you can’t forget creamy ranch and blue cheese dipping sauces to serve alongside them. Lean even further into the heat arena and feature recently trending spices like chiltepin peppers and Thai chiles, or overall trending flavors like chaat masala, cayenne pepper vinegar BBQ sauce, ghost pepper, and Cajun.
Score with Sauce
Just as athletes need a good coach, wings need a good sauce. And since wings are a blank canvas, and sauces are cost-effective, you can really show off your culinary creativity. According to research, Sriracha, bourbon, cilantro, garlic Parmesan, and soy are the fastest-growing wing flavors with Sriracha coming in hot at number one, growing 112% on menus over last year. Entice patrons to order this finger-food favorite as they cheer on their favorite team. Cattlemen’s® Carolina Tangy Gold BBQ Sauce also serves up a flavor bomb with a base that’s creamy, zesty, and smoky with a little kick that will be a treat for your guests’ tastebuds.
It’s no secret international flavors have dominated menus for the last several years. That trend continues to flourish and infusing some worldwide flavor into your wings can send you soaring into the end zone on game days. Combine a classic Alabama white sauce with the trendy togarashi spice for a Japanese fusion that will really rally the crowds. Or pair caramel and soy sauce to create Vietnamese pok wings that will have customers cheering. Mediterranean-style cuisine has been trending for a few years, so you can tap into that trend with grilled wings marinated in a simple Greek dressing, coated in warming spices like cinnamon, paprika, and cardamom, and served up with a cool tzatziki sauce.
Plant Power Play
While meaty chicken wings are always going to shine bright on menus, don’t forget about your vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based crowd that wants to get in on the action. Swap out the chicken for trending cauliflower slathered in Buffalo sauce or consider mushrooms as a tasty meat alternative that you can bake or fry and go crazy with seasonings, sauces, and dips to score with this crowd. Fungi foraging soared during the pandemic, and everything from oyster to lion’s mane to chantarelle mushrooms started popping up on menus. It gives plant-based eaters another option and serves as another blank canvas that lends itself well to a variety of flavor combos.
Wings don’t just have to be spicy or savory. A sweet heat or sweet and sour combo can be the right move to bust out of your playbook. Smoked wings with Cattlemen’s® Memphis Sweet BBQ Sauce are a tasty but familiar option for sports fans and foodies alike who crave comfort snacks as they watch the game.
Or snag the younger crowd’s attention with nostalgic flavors like peanut butter and jelly or tap into the “swicy” trend by pairing trending hot spices with tropical fruit using Magellan® Habanero Mango Seasoning as a dry rub and serving them up with a creamy dipping sauce. And move over hot honey — spicy maple will be one of the trending flavors for 2023, so don’t be afraid to experiment. No combo is too out there for today’s adventurous eaters, so take your all-star game LTOs on a long drive and win big with fans.