Buffalo Wild Wings ‘boneless wings’ are false advertising, lawsuit says

Xavier Roger


Food News

The lawsuit says “boneless wings” are more akin to chicken nuggets than wings.

Buffalo Wild Wings is being sued over its “boneless wings,” which don’t contain chicken wing meat. Christ O’Meara/AP

A new, nationwide class action lawsuit claims that Buffalo Wild Wings calling their deep-fried chicken breast “boneless wings” is false advertising.

The lawsuit, which was filed March 10 on behalf of Chicago resident Aimen Halim, alleges that Buffalo Wild Wings is engaging in “deceptive marketing” because its “boneless wings” are not actually made of deboned chicken wing meat, as one might assume.

“Unbeknownst to Plaintiff and other consumers, the Products are not wings at all, but instead, slices of chicken breast meat deep-fried like wings. Indeed, the Products are more akin, in composition, to a chicken nugget rather than a chicken wing,” the lawsuit reads.

“This clear-cut case of false advertising should not be permitted, as consumers should be able to rely on the plain meaning of a product’s name and receive what they are promised.”

Buffalo Wild Wings lists its “boneless wings,” which are made of chicken breast meat, on the “wings” page of its menu. – Court Documents

The lawsuit makes the case that whether the product is made of wing meat is relevant for two reasons. Firstly, it says, restaurants often charge more for wings than for nuggets. Secondly, it says, customers might not buy the product if they knew it was not actually made of wing meat, or at least might be unwilling to pay as much as Buffalo Wild Wings is charging.

According to the lawsuit, Buffalo Wild Wings began selling boneless wings in 2003. Restaurants created the product in response to a rise in wholesale chicken prices with the aim of maintaining their profit margins, the lawsuit claims, citing a 2009 New York Times article.

The lawsuit also points out that other restaurants that sell a similar product, such as Dominos and Papa Johns, call the product “boneless chicken” or “chicken poppers” instead of “boneless wings.”

“Defendant has no valid reason for misleading consumers, other than to promote a cheaper product along with its actual chicken wings,” the lawsuit reads.

On its website, Buffalo Wild Wings describes its boneless wings as lightly-breaded all-white chicken.

The restaurant chain posted a cheeky response to the lawsuit on Twitter Monday, which both Wild Wings and its parent company, Inspire Brands, are using as a statement on the lawsuit.

This isn’t the first time someone has complained that “boneless wings” is a misnomer. In 2020, a Lincoln, Neb., man made headlines after making an impassioned speech at a Lincoln City Council meeting decrying the product.

“Nothing about boneless chicken wings actually come from the wing of a chicken. We would be disgusted if a butcher was mislabeling their cuts of meats, but then we go around pretending as though the breast of the chicken is its wing,” the man argued.

Just last month, Associated Press writer Ted Anthony wrote an article criticizing the product.

A similar lawsuit filed in January claimed that Fireball was misleading customers by selling nips of “Fireball Cinnamon” that don’t contain whiskey.


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