Wendy's Clarifies It Won’t Bring Surge Pricing To Food

Wendy's stated it won't use surge pricing next year after reports earlier this month suggested demand would impact menu prices.

Wendy's said Tuesday that their dynamic pricing and new digital menu boards, which would allow them to change the display of featured items, were “misconstrued in some media reports as an intent to raise prices when demand is highest,” or surge pricing.

The company stated it has “no plans to do that and would not raise prices when our customers are visiting us most” and that menu boards will let them “offer discounts and value offers to our customers more easily.”

Wendy's fourth-quarter earnings presentation introduced dynamic pricing and said its new digital menu boards would “leverage technology to support margin expansion” and allow for “dynamic pricing & menu offerings” and upsell capabilities by 2025, but it didn't provide many details.

Large Number $30M. Wendy’s estimated its digital menu board implementation investment at that much.

Background key Wendy's would have been one of the first to provide dynamic pricing on menu items, joining Uber and Lyft. Customers were upset. Social media users called the practice “insanely stupid” and wondered if staff would get “surge pay” amid price increases.  

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called it “price gouging plain and simple, and American families have had enough” on Twitter. The Consumer Price Index showed a 2.6% increase in U.S. food costs from January 2023.  

Polling showed consumers are feeling the squeeze as food outside the home rose 5.1% from January. Last November, 67% of Ipsos respondents said food costs were the most inflationary and worried about continued increases.