Pizza Hut’s first stand-alone WingStreet location, which opened in late fall in Denton, Texas, has shuttered after just a few months of testing, but a spokesman said Tuesday that the concept has potential.
More than 3,600 WingStreet units already exist within Pizza Huts, but the unit in a strip-mall north of Dallas was first unit to stand on its own. It closed in March, a company spokesman said.
“It was set out as a pilot, and we learned a lot from consumers that we’ll be able to now apply to the concept moving forward,” said Doug Terfehr, Pizza Hut’s director of public relations, in an email exchange.
“We absolutely believe in the idea,” he said. “We have so much rich information now that we didn’t have, and that will make the concept even stronger down the line.” The store’s website, WingStreet.com, remains live.
The stand-alone WingStreet, nestled in a small strip mall next to a Mooyah burger concept, had offered a pared-down menu of chicken wings, strips and sandwiches. Nine sauces were available, from garlic Parmesan to “Buffalo Inferno.” The sauce line, which included mango habanero, was broader than the one in the Pizza Hut combo locations.
Prices ranged from $5.99 for three chicken strips with a side and regular drink to $9.49 for 10 wings with a side and regular drink. Sides included waffle fries, sweet potato fries, veggie sticks, fried pickles, cheesy fries (an extra $1 in combos) and apple pie. Beer was also available for on-premise drinking.
The unit also offered bone-in or bone-out chicken wings sold in 10-count packages starting at $6.59 and up to 50 for $33.59.
The in-line WingStreet had occupied about 1,600 square feet and offered 34 seats for dining in.
Pizza Hut entered a market already populated with a number of wing-based concepts with WingStreet, including casual-dining Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar and fast-casual Wingstop Restaurants Inc.
Minneapolis, Minn.-based Buffalo Wild Wings ended 2012 with 884 units and about $2.5 billion in U.S. systemwide sales, according to information gathered for Nation’s Restaurant News annual Top 200 census, which will be published in June and July.
Richardson, Texas-based Wingstop, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Roark Capital Group, at year’s end had 533 domestic units and U.S. systemwide sales of about $450.9 million, according to information provided by chain officials.
Pizza Hut’s parent company, Louisville, Ky.-based Yum Brands, does not break out sales figures for the combo WingStreet locations.
Pizza Hut has about 10,000 restaurants in 90 nations, with about 6,300 of those in the United States.