Buffalo Wild Wings to change wing portions, launch new beer

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Surging chicken prices took a bit out of Buffalo Wild Wings profits in the first-quarter. The Golden Valley-based grill and bar chain posted a net income of $16.3 million, down 10 percent from $18.2 million during the same three month period a year earlier, the Associated Press reports.

Revenue totaled $304.4 million, up 21 percent from $251.1 million a year ago.

"We continued investing capital and labor for our future success, even though we faced the challenge of high wing costs and fluctuating wing yields," President and CEO Sally Smith said in a news release. "We're excited about our Guest Experience business model as it further enhances our brand and we've seen this strategy build incremental sales. In the first quarter, this model incurred higher labor costs than we had last year when it was not in place. We continue to refine this already strong model for operating our restaurants."

Buffalo Wild Wings will begin selling wings based on weight instead of the number at all its restaurants this summer, according to the Star Tribune. The company has already been testing the new portioning in about 40 markets.

"Our new servings will allow us to serve a consistent portion of chicken to our guests when the size of wings fluctuates," Smith said during the company's earnings call with analysts.

The Business Journal says Buffalo Wild Wings is also teaming up with craft brewer Red Hook to launch its own in-house premium beer, called Game Changer.

Smith said, "The thought is that we can price this somewhere between domestic and imported draft beer with probably similar margins to our domestic draft beer."

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