Hurricane Grill and Wings Growing With Seafood

Published on
October 26, 2008

Despite being one of the fastest-growing wing chains in the country, seafood is a major focus on the menu at Hurricane Grill and Wings, based in Stuart, Fla.

The 13-year-old chain, which features 35 varieties of wing sauces and rubs, opened its 34th franchised location on Saturday in a busy suburb of Orlando, Fla. Despite the lagging economy, the chain is growing quickly, with plans to add around 200 units in the next two years.

Hurricane Grill and Wings' area developer, Alex Karas, attributes the company's success to its focus on quality food at mid-range price points, along with menu variety.

"Our price points are around $11 to $12 per meal - white tablecloth restaurants are two to three times that - so you can still take the family out and have a nice meal," says Karas.

In addition, its patrons can order quality food - including fresh, hormone-free chicken, mahimahi and 100 percent Angus beef - prepared in a variety of ways.

While chicken wings are the obvious core of the menu, the chain differentiates itself from other casual concepts with unique preparations of mahimahi, grouper and shrimp. Hurricane's "Grilled Mahi Mahi Sandwich," using Pacific Straits' frozen mahimahi from Pacific Coral Seafood Co. in Miami, is one of the most popular items on its sandwich menu. Mahimahi is also featured in the restaurant's salads and in its "Hurricane Phillies" sandwiches, which can also be ordered with steak or chicken.

"We're focusing on using one protein in multiple different areas, to reduce the amount of stock the owners have to hold on to," says Ginger Benoit, director of operations and training for one of Hurricane's franchise owners, Wings Development of Florida.

Seafood is also heavily featured on Hurricane's appetizers menu, with offerings such as Wood Smoked Fish Dip with Mahi Mahi and Wahoo, Bluewater Grouper Fingers, Shrimp Tenders and Firecracker Shrimp.

Hurricane Grill has also benefited from consumers' growing concerns about the environment and sustainability. It recycles a percentage of its cooking oils into biodiesel fuel and uses 100 percent corn cups, among other efforts.

Contributing Editor

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