Tasted: Will US chain Wingstop fly in PH?

By Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jun 26 2014 06:28 PM | Updated as of Jun 27 2014 06:48 PM

Wingstop is located at the Regis Center in Katipunan. Photo from Wingstop Philippines’ Facebook page

MANILA – The chicken wings craze in Manila is far from over with the entry of yet another well-known restaurant chain.

Wingstop, which has around 600 branches in the United States, Mexico, Russia and Singapore, has long been marketed as “the wing experts” for its different chicken wing flavors.

The US-based chain opened its first Philippine branch at the Regis Center in Katipunan in late May, attracting not only loyal fans and curious customers but also students and residents in the area.

But is it worth the hype?

Wingstop was almost packed for dinner when this writer visited the Katipunan restaurant early this week. The crowd was composed mostly of teens and college kids eager to get a taste of one of the newest chicken wings in town.

For a place that attracts mainly the younger ones, Wingstop’s offerings are far from being student-friendly in terms of prices. A quick look at the menu shows that an order of six pieces of chicken wings can set you back P180. The same amount – or even lower – can buy an upsized fast food combo or even a decent sitdown meal in other restaurants in the area.

Atomic Wings. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com


If the price were to be compared per wing, Wingstop is cheaper than the chicken restaurant next door, Bonchon, at P30 versus P32.50 for the six-piece order. Bonchon, however, still has the edge because of its affordable “boxed meals” at P149, which include chicken, starch (rice or fries) and a drink.

For now, customers at Wingstop have to make do with ordering side dishes and drinks separately, which means that their meal can easily cost at least P90 more. A serving of their Chipotle Rice, which has a slightly smoky flavor, is priced at P45, just like their Coleslaw and Potato Salad. The Texas-style Fries, meanwhile, cost P75.

Chipotle Rice. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com


Drinks here are also pricier compared to restaurants with a similar casual vibe – P45 for bottled water, P55 for a can of soda, P75 for iced tea and P135 for beer. To those who do not want to spend that much, there is distilled water offered at the counter.

This writer and her companion ordered 16 pieces of chicken wings, Chipotle Rice and two cans of soda and their bill amounted to P630, which can easily be spent on two meals at a restaurant with a slightly more upscale feel.

Not to say that the chicken wings were not good, however. From the spicy Atomic (which has the strong taste of black pepper) to the sweet and tangy Hickory Smoked BBQ and the light Garlic Parmesan, the wings were all moist, piping hot and flavorful. There was no oily aftertaste – which is sometimes the case for the other chicken joints in this category – and this writer hopes that Wingstop can maintain this level of quality for several years.

The size of the wings, however, leaves much to be desired. Wingstop’s wings are considerably smaller than its competitors, with a single order usually not enough for one person.

Wingstop also has Chicken Tenders and an accompanying range of dips, which are said to be just as tasty as the wings. Again, the prices are not as commendable, considering their size and quantity.

Should you visit this restaurant? Yes and no. Yes, if you have a serious craving for chicken wings, and no if you do not want to leave a hole in your pocket.

Wingstop already has the right products to sell, but the restaurant should consider offering budget-friendly options to make it a strong contender in the chicken wings game.

WINGSTOP

2/F Regis Center, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City
For more details, visit their Facebook page