West Texas Businesses Dealing With a Shortage of Chicken

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - The Super Bowl is a little more than a week away, but a nationwide shortage of chicken wings could threaten to limit your snack choices here in the Basin.

So far, it appears as if West Texans will be able to fill up on hot wings for the Super Bowl. However, a cutback in the supply of poultry doesn't make it easy for lots of businesses this time of the year.

"Right now, the Super Bowl is coming up, a lot of hot wings places opening up," Tommy Sandlin, the owner of Bush's Chicken in Odessa, said.

Restaurant owners across the country are facing a major dilemma: demand is up for buffalo wings, but supply is low. The lack of poultry is so bad in New York State, some owners are calling for a wing boycott on Monday, January 26th.

"They are not hatching as many chickens now," Sandlin explained. "So, as long as they don't, then you are going to have a shortage, and that drives the price up."

Sandlin told NewsWest 9 Friday it's not just the price of hot wings that's going up. He's seen an increase in all chicken products.

"We've been faced with two to three price increases in a year's time. We try to get a contract, where we don't have this problem, but they're reluctant to give you a contract with the way the economy is," Sandlin said.

He explained there's no single, simple reason why multiple poultry farms in Texas have cut back on supply. He said he doesn't expect to see a spike in local prices just for the Super Bowl, but he says the shortage is a concern.

"We're serving a good product here, we're going to try and mantain that, and we're going to try and maintain our prices here," Sandlin said. "I don't want to go up, I really don't. I don't want to add to the problem with the economy, I want to stay where we're at, and try and stay in business here."

NewsWest 9 also spoke with an executive at Wingstop who said the company had a deal already in place with Pilgrim's Pride before a lot of these cutbacks, so they don't anticipate any changes for the Super Bowl. Other local restaurants have reported moderate increases, but nothing as bad as the spike in prices in New York State.