Chicken Wing Pricing Redux

(Photo: Southern Foodways Alliance)

About a year ago, I blogged about how odd the pattern of chicken wing prices was at my local Harold’s Chicken Shack.  Here was what they were charging for their wings:

2-wing meal $3.03

3-wing meal $4.50

4-wing meal $5.40

5-wing meal $5.95

6-wing meal $7.00

It is quite odd because they gave you a big discount on the fourth and fifth wings, but charged you a lot for the sixth wing.  There were many incongruities throughout the menu.

Since that time, Harold’s has invested in a fancy new menu up on the wall above the bulletproof glass that protects the workers from the customers.  I’ve also invested in a fancy new phone that actually takes pictures, unlike the phone I carried a year ago.  So this time, instead of having to write down all the prices, I just snapped a photo.

Did Harold’s fix their pricing?  Look for yourself.  They did indeed change prices, but not quite the way I would have expected.  It appears that they took all their old prices and multiplied then by 0.996, and those are the new prices.   So the prices fell by between one and three cents.

My favorite part of the new menu is the line that is blacked out.  There used to be an offering between six and 21 wings, but they crossed it out so you can’t see it any more.  I would love to know, given the rest of the pricing, what could have been so bad about the one they deleted.  Maybe they multiplied that one by 0.995 instead of 0.996, throwing it out of whack with the rest of the menu items.

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  1. YX says:

    And somehow they offer 21 wing rather than 20…

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  2. Noto says:

    I think they do this to get free advertising from perplexed economists.

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  3. Jake says:

    Obviously, the 21-wing deal is the best. If you want 40 wings, just buy 2 21-piece orders, it’s 33 cents cheaper, and you get 2 extra wings!

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  4. Phil says:

    This says “wing dinners”. Do they all include fries or something? You’d think if it was just the wings, it would just say “wings”.

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    • Chad says:

      Yes, wing dinners include fries, about a tablespoon worth of cole slaw and a slice of white bread. The pricing was always perplexing, but I always got the 1/2 chicken dinner with hot sauce and pepper. I never worried about the wings.

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  5. hehe says:

    hehe. two orders of 21 wings is cheaper than one order of 40.

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  6. Hunter says:

    As everybody knows, the optimal harold’s order is the half-dark special on any number of special days.

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  7. James says:

    Off topic, but “…Harold’s has invested in a fancy new menu up on the wall above the bulletproof glass that protects the workers from the customers.”? I remember a recent snarky remark about people like me living out in the boondocks with a closetful of guns, yet I’m pretty sure that the fast food places hereabouts have not invested in bulletproof glass. Wonder why that is…

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  8. Darren says:

    What are the totals when you add tax? Some of the prices may reflect an imperfectly devised strategy to minimize counting change. Of course, the social way to solve the mystery would be to ask the proprietor.

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    • Randall says:

      My mother used to keep the books for a liquor store and that was exactly their pricing strategy. She would enter the prices into the computer based on the desired markup and make it so what when the sales tax was added in it would end up being divisible by 25¢.

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    • batguano says:

      > Of course, the social way to solve the mystery would be to ask the proprietor.

      You, sir, have obviously never been to Harold’s. I am very sad for you, because it is one of life’s greatest treasures.

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      • Wing Man says:

        As we all know most genetically modified chickens have 5 wings, so the 6th wing must have introduced an entirely different chicken -> Therefore the economies of scale no longer apply.

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