NATIONAL NEWS

Wendy’s will soon begin testing Uber-like surge pricing

Feb 27, 2024, 10:09 AM

A picture of Wendy's new digital boards given to CNN. (Photo courtesy: The Wendy's Company via CNN ...

A picture of Wendy's new digital boards given to CNN. (Photo courtesy: The Wendy's Company via CNN Newsource)

(Photo courtesy: The Wendy's Company via CNN Newsource)

NEW YORK — The price of a Wendy’s Frosty could soon fluctuate throughout the day as the chain looks to introduce Uber-like surge pricing on its menu.

The practice, known as “dynamic pricing,” will begin testing in 2025, Wendy’s recently revealed in an earnings call. It’s part of a $20 million investment in new digital menu boards at its U.S. restaurants that enable them to change prices depending on demand.

Few details were released about the change, but Wendy’s CEO Kirk Tanner said the new menus will let the fast food chain test “more enhanced features like dynamic pricing and day-part offerings along with AI-enabled menu changes and suggestive selling.”

“We expect our digital menu boards will drive immediate benefits to order accuracy, improve crew experience and sales growth from upselling and consistent merchandising execution,” Tanner said on the call.

The menus were first shown in a mockup of a redesigned Wendy’s unveiled in 2022 that featured new pick-up windows, a more technologically advanced kitchen and a spruced-up interior. The new menus have already rolled out at some drive-thrus, with some TikTok users showing them powered by an automated voice, instead of a human worker, with suggestions for add-ons featured onscreen.

Surge pricing is common with sports and concert tickets and for ride-hailing apps, with services like Ticketmaster and Uber using sophisticated dynamic pricing algorithms that change minute by minute, based on demand. However, there hasn’t been widespread adoption from restaurants because of the labor it takes employees to change menus.

But apps and digital menus can easily update prices on the fly, giving fast food chains an easier to way to implement dynamic pricing. Wendy’s expects digital order sales to reach $2 billion this year and is spending $15 million to upgrade its app.

McDonald’s has also dabbled with dynamic pricing and new order-suggestion capabilities at some of its upgraded drive-thrus and on its app. However, the varied and inconsistent prices at its franchises have ignited outrage recently for affecting the affordability of its food.

Surge pricing could be a “turning point” in the industry, according to Jonathan Maze, editor-in-chief of trade publication Restaurant Business. “If Wendy’s idea works, it could get others to do something similar, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another chain or two test the idea themselves, given what Wendy’s is doing.”

Maze adds that there’s risk, especially in light of the fluctuating prices of fast food. “The idea that a restaurant chain would potentially raise prices during busy times of day, even if consumers think they’re raising prices, then it could lead to a backlash,” he told CNN. “They’ll have to tread carefully. This is why we haven’t seen a lot of it.”

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

An artist's illustration depicts Voyager 1 as it travels through interstellar space, or the space b...

Ashley Strickland, CNN

Voyager 1 is sending data back to Earth for the first time in 5 months

For the first time in five months, NASA engineers have received decipherable data from Voyager 1 after crafting a creative solution to fix a communication problem aboard humanity’s most distant spacecraft in the cosmos.

2 hours ago

WASHINGTON - APRIL 14:  Activists line Wisconsin Avenue during a vigil outside the residence of Vic...

Matthew Barakat, Associated Press

Jury deliberating in Iraq Abu Ghraib prison abuse civil case; contractor casts blame on Army

A lawyer for a military contractor being sued by three survivors of the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq says the plaintiffs are suing the wrong people.

4 hours ago

This image provided by the Topeka Zoo shows Karen, an ostrich at the Topeka Zoo in Topeka, Kan. The...

Associated Press

An adored ostrich at a Kansas zoo has died after swallowing a staff member’s keys

A beloved ostrich at the Topeka Zoo & Conservation Center in Kansas has died after swallowing a staff member's keys.

4 hours ago

Layton Utah temple photo show with others in Utah announced at West Jordan and Lehi...

KSL TV

Three temple locations, including West Jordan and Lehi, announced

Today, the locations for three temples — two in Utah, West Jordan and Lehi, and one in Florida — were announced.

4 hours ago

Some of Taylor Swift's most beloved songs are heart breaking -- and that can be helpful, experts sa...

Madeline Holcombe, CNN

Why everyone is crying to Taylor’s breakup songs

Fans were waiting with bated breath for the emotional torment they were sure would come from “The Tortured Poets Department,” Taylor Swift’s 11th studio album.

5 hours ago

FILE: A Brightline train is seen at the new MiamiCentral terminal during the inaugural trip from Mi...

Ken Ritter

Work starts on bullet train rail line from Sin City to the City of Angels

A $12 billion high-speed passenger rail line between Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area has started construction.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Wendy’s will soon begin testing Uber-like surge pricing