How Planet Wings Preps for the Super Bowl
Local franchise Planet Wings scores big with its chicken specialty
Ah, Super Bowl Sunday. It’s practically a federal holiday, during which we celebrate the quintessential American sport by eating a quintessential American food: chicken wings. Paula and Franco Fidanza, the owners of Planet Wings, capitalize on this combination every year.
“Planet Wings was actually born because of the Super Bowl,” Paula Fidanza says. In 1994, the couple operated a pizza parlor, which ran a wings special for the big game. When that proved to be the most popular item on the menu, they realized they’d struck gold and opened the first Planet Wings in Middletown. Nearly 20 years later, the chain has five corporate locations and 30 franchises — with seven more slated to open this year — in the Valley, New York-Metro, and New Jersey areas.
With close to 30 wing varieties to choose from (roasted garlic and Parmesan pepper go the fastest) and speedy take-out service (each restaurant has seating and delivery, too), it’s only natural that football fans would rely on the company to feed their party guests. “That day we start cooking at 7 a.m. and don’t stop,” says Fidanza. Each store orders about 20,000 wings in preparation. Rest assured, you’re getting the freshest product: The Super Bowl supply doesn’t even come in until the night before, because the stores don’t have enough cooler space to keep it. Fidanza says the biggest customer orders are usually for 500 wings, but the majority only want about 100. Still a pretty large number if you ask us.
Traffic around the stores is usually pretty heavy. “We tell our staff to park across the street,” Fidanza says. “At the beginning of the game and at halftime we can’t even get out of the parking lot.” Thanks to these crowds, delivery is discouraged that night, as well as ordering anything other than wings, since it’s difficult for the franchises to handle the volume.
Afraid of missing something while you pick up your tray? Don’t sweat, every location has a TV. “We didn’t have them in the past,” laughs Fidanza. “People just stared at us, waiting for their food. But now all the locations have TVs, and they’ve definitely relieved the tension.”
And which team is the Fidanzas’ favorite? “Whenever the New York teams are in we go crazy. When they’re not playing, it’s still great, but it’s not a super Super Bowl,” says Fidanza. “We root for New York.”