Andrew Azarias is about to launch Wings and Dips and just as every other restaurateur has done before him, he is grappling with the size and selection of his menu.
“I am about to start a Buffalo wings take out counter and delivery service here in the
A limited menu of just wings can be both an asset and a liability. On the liability side the selection definitely narrows down the appeal and decreases the market size. The asset is, waste will be minimal. And when beginning it often isn’t how much one sells, as much as it is how much one throws away.
But the problem a limited menu creates is the profitability of just one item: wings. Although the margin may be high, the cost of a dozen wings and the menu price does not allow enough financial spread to support a business unless the location is in an extremely high traffic area.
There is definitely a plethora of advantages to a simple-to-prepare, simple-to-order menu. However, just wings may be too limiting, too soon. We need to remember that when a restaurant first opens the public forms an immediate opinion on whether they will become regular customers. My fear here is that with just wings, people will not hunger for the menu as regularly as they would if it had a wider selection.
It may be worthwhile to attempt to expand the menu in similar areas that can utilize all of the products originally designated for the wings. A boneless Buffalo wing sandwich- a simple chicken cutlet fried or baked served on a roll with one of the exciting sauces-would widen the Wings and Dips appeal.
A Caesar styled salad – with six wings on it – would also be appetizing to those who want fresh salad and Buffalo wings. The lettuce could also be used on chicken sandwich.
As far as appetizers, the wings fill that category nicely and there would be no reason to add these or dessert. However, the delivery portion of the concept also concerns me as the cost of delivery could be more than the cost of the wings. Are there going to be minimal delivery orders? Are you going to have an employee deliver? Or are you going to have others deliver and just work per delivery? These are all questions that need to be answered and worked into the Wings and Dips business plan.
There can be unlimited debate on menu size and selection. And I am sure the problem will never be completely resolved.
One of the most famous, well run chains in the country, In and Out Burgers offers one of the restaurant world’s smallest and simplest menus and the locations are constantly packed. However, the hamburger has become an American dietary staple and In and Out Burgers offers one of the best quick burgers in the world.
I think by adding the sandwich and salad selection – the beauty of the Caesar styled salad is the only ingredient is the lettuce and possibly some croutons- the only other additional product needed would be the breaded chicken breast fillets. This will also keep your vendor list relatively small to begin with, while offering items other than just wings.
If by keeping the menu small and tight the company can serve the best wings, the best chicken sandwich and the best salad with wings anyone has ever tasted Wings and Dips will be very successful.
Once word spreads, the wings will be flying out the door.