Chicken Wing Cha-Ching

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bay Area wing lovers are learning an expensive lesson in supply and demand as they peruse the appetizer menu.  That's right, wing prices are soaring.

    Whether you consider it finger food or a meal, more and more people are sinking their teeth into chicken wings, and that's causing a price increase.

    According to the Agriculture Department, the average wholesale price of wings in 2009 was $1.47 per pound, up 39 percent from 2008 and the highest its been since the mid 1970s.

    Laroddric Theodule has noticed some restaurants have passed the cost onto him.

    "I would say for a typical meal before, I'd pay $6 to $8, but now it is $11 to $12," Theodule said. "That's a significant increase in cost. The owners of  Wing-Stop have decided to eat the increased costs and not pass it along to customers."

    This should give you an idea just how popular wings have become in the Bay Area: On Super Bowl Sunday, the Wing-Stop Restaurant in San Jose sold 500 chicken wings every 15 minutes. The owners of that store have seen such an increase in customers it has opened two more stores, one in Cupertino and the other in Watsonville.

    "It's such a popular item right now and every chicken has just two wings and you need many wings to make a meal and that's one reason why the increase." said Wing-Stop owner Amy Capello.

    You'll also find more restaurants spreading their wings to add the tasty tidbits to their menus. Pizza Hut offers wings and 7-11 says it plans to offer them at some stores.

    To offset wing prices, some restaurants are adding " boneless chicken wings," made of breast meat, which is now cheaper.