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Popular bar battles supply-chain issues as Super Bowl Sunday nears

Experts say Americans expected to eat 14.2 billion chicken wings on Sunday
Posted at 7:30 PM, Feb 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 20:07:53-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Super Bowl Sunday is only days away, and according to the National Chicken Council, Americans are expected to eat 14.2 billion chicken wings this Sunday.

So, Shawn Blonks of Project BarFly suggested that everyone gets their orders in now.

“It’s probably going to be a race for all restaurants to get their orders in for the weekend,” Blonks said during a Zoom interview on Friday afternoon. “So, what supply is out there in like chicken wings, all your typical good Super Bowl items, will probably go up pretty quick. So, I would imagine there’s going to be a major chicken shortage over the weekend.”

Blonks is the vice president of operations at Project BarFly, which owns a few downtown restaurants like HopCat and the Grand Rapids Brewing Company.

He said many establishments have been battling supply-chain issues for months. Chicken, seafood and even paper goods have been hard to come by.

“I sent a box of disposable cups to one of our locations and I had to get them shipped through Amazon or some other website,” Blonks said. “I’m paying extra money to get them shipped and all that stuff is just coming off that restaurant’s bottom line.”

He said the last few months have been tough. It all comes after dealing with COVID restrictions, surges and lockdowns, which hit the restaurant industry hard.

However, Grand Rapids Brewing Company hasn’t been impacted by the protest happening at the Canadian border, he said. For days, truck drivers have been forming blockades on major roadways throughout Canada in protest of COVID restrictions and vaccine mandates.

One of those roadways is the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Michigan and Canada.

“I think if it continues for a long period of time, we’ll start to see some impact,” he said. “But currently, we haven’t experienced any negative impact from that.”

Blonks said that most of their establishments aren’t really known as sports bars. However, they expect a sizable crowd on Sunday, and their TVs will be on the big game.

His advice for patrons is to remain calm if the food takes longer than normal to arrive, whether you’re dining in or dining out.

“Be patient,” Blonks said. “There will probably be a little bit longer pickup times out there. People are ordering delivery. I’m sure like all the drivers are going to be super swamped that day.”

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