An angry customer has a major bone to pick with Buffalo Wild Wings. Alongside its sizable lineup of traditional wings and sauces, the casual dining chain also caters to customers who want to stay away from bone-in chicken with its breaded boneless wings. But these boneless options have now become the center of a class-action lawsuit accusing Buffalo Wild Wings of "false and deceptive marketing and advertising."
In the lawsuit, Aimen Halim, a Chicago resident, explained that he purchased boneless wings from a Buffalo Wild Wings location in Mount Prospect, Ill., in January this year, believing he would receive actual chicken wings that had been deboned. "Unbeknownst to Plaintiff and other consumers, the Products are not wings at all, but instead, slices of chicken breast meat deep-fried like wings," the lawsuit stated. It also said that if Halim and other "similarly situated" consumers knew these products were not actually chicken wings, they would have paid less for them, or would not have purchased them at all. "Therefore, Plaintiff and consumers have suffered injury in fact, as a result of Defendants' deceptive practices," it added.
Halim, who is seeking damages for himself and on behalf of other consumers, chastised Buffalo Wild Wings for not being more "careful" with how it names its products. The lawsuit suggested that customers are willing to shell out more money for boneless wings simply because they believe they're actual wings. "Plaintiff's and other consumers' reasonable belief that the Products are chicken wings was a significant factor, and therefore material, in each of their decisions to purchase the Products," the lawsuit said. "Chicken wings are a more premium and desirable product than a Product made of chicken breast meat."
Buffalo Wild Wings, which describes the boneless wings as "juicy all-white chicken" on its website, has already issued a cheeky response to the lawsuit on Twitter. "It's true. Our boneless wings are all white meat chicken. Our hamburgers contain no ham. Our buffalo wings are 0% buffalo," the chain tweeted.
Though others may not resort to legal action, Halim is not alone in his belief that boneless wings represent a grand deception for consumers. In 2020, a man who resided in Lincoln, Neb., proposed that the city completely remove the name "boneless wings" from local menus, according to the Associated Press. Actor and comedian Jimmy O. Yang even penned an article about his distaste for the food item for Bon Appétit in 2018, suggesting that "any restaurant who serves boneless wings should be indicted for fraud."
Buffalo Wild Wings may be the one facing legal drama over its boneless wings, but it is far from the only restaurant chain that sells them. Wingstop, Applebee's, and Red Robin are among the other brands that offer some iteration of boneless wings.