Dickey’s to debut a brick-and-mortar store for its virtual wings brand – Restaurant Dive

Dive Brief:

  • Dickey’s Restaurant Brands has announced it is building a brick-and-mortar restaurant for its virtual chicken wing concept, Wing Boss, set to open in the Dallas suburb of Addison, Texas, later this summer, according to a press release sent to Restaurant Dive. The delivery-only concept made its debut in March and has since expanded to more than 70 locations.
  • The 1,500-square-foot location will include a full-service bar, televisions, Wing Boss’ hickory-smoked bone-in or boneless wings and its signature drinks. It will also offer group packs for to-go orders.
  • Several virtual chicken wing concepts have been rolled out throughout the past year and a half by heavyweights like Bloomin’ Brands’Brinker International and Applebee’s. None of these concepts, however, have extended into standalone brick-and-mortar spaces.

Dive Insight:

Dickey’s transition of Wing Boss into a more expensive brick-and-mortar model reflects the parent company’s confidence in the virtual brand’s longevity. In a statement, Dickey’s CEO Laura Rea Dickey said the company has seen “impressive results” with the smoked chicken wings brand.

It’s an interesting choice since tying the brand to a real estate obligation removes the flexibility afforded by a virtual-only concept. But this “clicks to bricks” trend was starting to take shape before the pandemic, as concepts chased an omnichannel presence to meet consumers’ diversifying preferences to access food. 

The strong demand for chicken wings may be enough to sustain this strategy, however.  According to Vox, consumers’ demand for wings has increased by 7% throughout the past year and a half alone. Wings proved to be popular during the