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Buffalo Wings & Rings Taps Fans’ Taste Buds for New Flavors
Cincinnati-based Elevated Sports Restaurant Franchise Holds Wing Tasting Event to Get Fan Feedback for More Sauce Options

The sports restaurant franchise known for taking game-time to the next level is taking their wings to the next level, too. Buffalo Wings & Rings put the future of its next delicious wing flavor in the customers’ hands by hosting its first-ever wing tasting competition. A few months ago, the brand gave franchisees and staff the opportunity to play a role in the development of next year’s limited time offers by asking them to create and submit their own wing sauces for consideration. The winning flavors would then be featured as part of an upcoming limited time menu.

“We thought it would be a great bonding experience for everyone. It provided a way for the franchisees to become more involved with menu items. It also created a sense of ownership for the kitchen staff and managers,” Field Marketing Representative Lindsey Zahner said.

The brand has found success in catering to the evolving tastes and desires of their fan base, and with the wing tasting competition, the Buffalo Wings & Rings corporate team decided to give fans a literal hands-on chance to make their voices heard. Buffalo Wings & Rings invited five men and five women from the company’s Club 84’ loyalty program to dig their teeth into the potential next hit wing sauces.

Participants had to stay within four categories of BBQ, Traditional, Creative and Garlic. All sauces were featured at the wing sauce competition hosted at the company’s Beechmont location in its home market of Cincinnati, Ohio. The competition, which took place on November 20, featured some of Cincinnati’s biggest wing fanatics and discerning critics. Additionally, local media came out to get a taste of the action. Reporters from Cincinnati’s NBC and ABC affiliates, as well as local radio and food bloggers also stopped by the event. 

The judges voted across the categories and in the end, there was a three-way tie. The three winning sauces were: Spicy Garlic created by Liberty Way Kitchen Manager Geraldo Perez, Spicy Lemon Pepper created by Beechmont Kitchen Manager Joey McLaughlin and Buckeye BBQ created by the entire team at Liberty Way.

“This was a great way to bring people from all over the community together, and what better way to do it than over wings! It is vital for the Buffalo Wings & Rings brand to show our loyalty to our customers’ opinions and tastes. Our staff, across the board, worked really hard to whip up the perfect flavors. We had a three-way tie which just shows how talented our kitchen managers are. The community just could not choose,” Zahner said.

Buffalo Wings & Rings R&D Chef Elliot Jablonsky took the three-way tie to WKRQ Q102 and let the hosts of “Jon & Laura,” Jon Curl and Laura Powell, try them all in-studio during a Facebook live segment featured on the WKRQ Q102 Facebook page. The wings were smothered in the winning three sauces and as Jon and Laura tried them out, viewers got to add their takes on the Facebook live feed.

“It was really cool that Buffalo Wings & Rings thought of us and valued our opinion. I consider myself a wing connoisseur and even I was blown away by how tasty they were! My personal favorite was the Buckeye BBQ,” Curl said.

Overall, WKRQ staff chose the Spicy Garlic as the winning sauce.

“I had never tasted anything like the Spicy Garlic sauce. It was so unique, inventive, with so many different flavors,” Powell said.

Buffalo Wings & Rings is working on their limited time menu offerings for 2018 and will be continuing research and development to determine when the Spicy Garlic, Buckeye BBQ and Spicy Lemon Pepper will land as options.

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