Buffalo Wild Wings sued because their ‘wings’ are breast meat
When a restaurant frys a piece of chicken breast, coats it in buffalo sauce, and calls it a wing, is that a trivial semantic glitch or consumer fraud?
A new federal lawsuit makes no secret of it: The lawsuit alleges the practice is a fraud and that companies like Buffalo Wild Wings are tricking customers into selling chicken wings that aren’t actually wings.
Chicago’s Aimen Halim filed a lawsuit against Buffalo Wild Wings on Friday, claiming he visited the Buffalo Wild Wings facility in Mount Prospect, Ill., in January and ordered “boneless wings.” .
“Unbeknownst to plaintiff and other consumers, the products are not wings at all, but rather slices of chicken breast meat fried like wings,” the lawsuit states. “Indeed, the products are more akin, in their composition, to a chicken nugget than to a chicken wing.”
The Los Angeles attorneys who filed the lawsuit are looking for other consumers who also ate boneless wings at one of the chain’s hundreds of locations across the country.
“This clear case of false advertising should not be allowed because consumers should be able to trust the plain meaning of a product’s name and receive what they are promised,” according to the lawsuit, obtained by USA TODAY.
“Our wings are 0% buffalo”
Buffalo Wild Wings did not directly comment on the lawsuit when reached by USA TODAY, but pointed to a cheeky tweet sent earlier in the day that mocked the litigation.
“It’s true,” read the tweet on Monday. “Our boneless wings are made entirely of white chicken meat. Our burgers do not contain ham. Our bison wings are 0% bison. »
Some commentators didn’t see the humor.
“So don’t call them wings,” one man wrote.
“Chicken nuggets. These are chicken nuggets,” wrote another. And another: “Nice try, but Buffalo represents the city, not the animal. Your wings should be real. Stop being deceptive.”
Others called the lawsuit “dumb.”
“This lawsuit is so stupid,” wrote one user. “I don’t even eat chicken but I know boneless wings are made from breast meat.”
An economic change
Many restaurants began using breast meat to make chicken “wings” after the Great Recession of 2008, when the price of breast plummeted, but not wings, the lawsuit said.
Companies that made the switch quickly realized the resulting benefits, and many continued the practice despite the end of the recession.
“It seems clear why Buffalo Wild Wings began selling boneless wings and why it continued to deliberately mislead consumers: a profit motive,” the lawsuit states.
The company should have changed the name of the boneless wings to something more appropriate, like chicken poppers, the lawsuit said, pointing to other restaurants that clearly state what they sell.
Papa John’s, for example, sells Buffalo Chicken Poppers and describes the dish as all-white chicken breast meat.
Chicken wings are more expensive than chicken breast, and the bottom line is that it’s wrong to label the meat incorrectly, according to the lawsuit.
“If plaintiff and other consumers had known that the products were not actually chicken wings, they would have paid less for them or not bought them at all,” the lawsuit said. “Therefore, Plaintiff and Consumers have suffered factual harm as a result of Defendants’ deceptive practices.”
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages.