Wendy's to Introduce "Surge Pricing" on Menu Items

Wendy's pricing may now change depending on the time of day.

Wendy's will soon begin rolling out a new pricing feature that may be divisive with fans of the fast-food restaurant. During an earning's call earlier this month, Wendy's CEO Kirk Tanner revealed the chain will start using "surge pricing" at some point in 2025. Frequent Uber users will recognize the phrase "surge pricing" as something that changes prices based on a variety of factors from availability of drivers to time of day.

"We are planning to invest approximately $20 million to roll out digital menu boards to all U.S. company-operated restaurants by the end of 2025," Tanner said on call with analysts and investors (via Nation's Restaurant News), "and approximately $10 million over the next two years to support digital menu board enhancements for the global system."

That's when the surge pricing efforts came into focus, with the executive saying the chain will further embrace the use of AI software.

"Beginning as early as 2025, we will begin testing more enhanced features like dynamic pricing and daypart offerings along with AI-enabled menu changes and suggestive selling," the executive added. "[Technology] plays a key role on our restaurant team, enabling the crew to focus on what matters: preparing fresh high-quality Wendy's favorites and building customer relationships to bring them back time and again."

A Wendy's spokesperson doubled-down on the pricing structure in a statement obtained by TODAY.

"At Wendy's, we're focused on providing great tasting, fresh, high-quality food and doing it in a way that brings value to our customers. As we've previously shared, we are making a significant investment to accelerate our digital business. In addition to evolving our loyalty program, we are leveraging technology even more with the roll out of digital menu boards in some U.S. restaurants," the statement reads. "Beginning as early as 2025, we will begin testing a variety of enhanced features on these digital menu boards like dynamic pricing, different offerings in certain parts of the day, AI-enabled menu changes and suggestive selling based on factors such as weather."

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