Surge Fry Pricing

In a world where companies rake in a whole lot of money and lay off employees in order to appease shareholders, we now get another nonsense tactic from companies to wring every last cent from people: surge pricing at Wendy's. Yes, you read that right. Depending on the time of day, the food you order could cost more or less. Michelle Chapman at AP News has more.

During a conference call earlier this month, Wendy’s CEO Kirk Tanner said that the Dublin, Ohio-based burger chain will start testing dynamic pricing, also known as surge pricing, as early as next year.

“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,” he said. “As we continue to show the benefit of this technology in our company-operated restaurants, franchisee interest in digital menu boards should increase, further supporting sales and profit growth across the system.”

AP News

This made a lot of news because it's fairly ridiculous to expect to pay more for fast food at different times (I'm going elsewhere if I roll up to a Wendy's and a meal is more expensive). But the company has tried to clarify (damage control) the situation according to Omar Fares at Salon.

Wendy's executives have since clarified that its dynamic pricing model would not increase prices for customers, saying in a news release the CEOs comments were "misconstrued." Wendy's said that while price adjustments could happen in both directions, the upper limit would remain the current price.


Whether Wendy's will actually do this or not, it goes back to my original point: companies are raking in money and want more. If that involves laying off employees? They do it. If that involves raising prices or "shrinkflation" in which products remain the same price but are now smaller in size, they do it. "Surge pricing" for a fast food meal doesn't seem so outlandish in that regard. But don't worry, they'll also save money by replacing the workers with robots and taking your order with AI while they're at it.

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