Wendy’s clarifies plans for dynamic pricing experiment after backlash

A view of a Wendy's store on August 9, 2023 in Nanuet, New York.

Enlarge / A view of a Wendy's store on August 9, 2023, in Nanuet, New York. (credit: Getty Images)

American fast food chain Wendy's is planning to test dynamic pricing and AI menu features in 2025, reports Nation's Restaurant News and Food & Wine. This means that prices for food items will automatically change throughout the day depending on demand, similar to "surge pricing" in rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft. The initiative was disclosed by Kirk Tanner, the CEO and president of Wendy's, in a recent discussion with analysts.

According to Tanner, Wendy's plans to invest approximately $20 million to install digital menu boards capable of displaying these real-time variable prices across all of its company-operated locations in the United States. An additional $10 million is earmarked over two years to enhance Wendy's global system, which aims to improve order accuracy and upsell other menu items.

In conversation with Food & Wine, a spokesperson for Wendy's confirmed the company's commitment to this pricing strategy, describing it as part of a broader effort to grow its digital business. "Beginning as early as 2025, we will begin testing a variety of enhanced features on these digital menuboards like dynamic pricing, different offerings in certain parts of the day, AI-enabled menu changes and suggestive selling based on factors such as weather," they said. "Dynamic pricing can allow Wendy's to be competitive and flexible with pricing, motivate customers to visit and provide them with the food they love at a great value. We will test a number of features that we think will provide an enhanced customer and crew experience."

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