Wendy's Hits Back Against Report It's Planning Surge-Style Pricing

Is Wendy's taking a page out of the Uber and Lyft model?

Those dying for a Baconator at Wendy's during lunch are dinner were stunned to find out they may have to pay more. But the fast food chain is calling BS on claims they plan on increasing their prices during busy hours. The burger chain clarified its stance on how it will approach pricing. 

The conversation began after the company's CEO, Kirk Tanner, said that the company would test features like dynamic pricing, which is defined as a revenue strategy in which businesses set flexible prices for products or services based on market demands. Tanner said, "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."

Dynamic pricing, or surge charges, are not new. Ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft, as well as airline companies and hotels, are infamous for increasing pricing during peak travel times. With ride-share, it's typically during busy weeks featuring a ton of local events, or during rush hour traffic and inclement weather. 

But Wendy's backpedaled after customer outrage. "Wendy's will not implement surge pricing, which is the practice of raising prices when demand is highest. We didn't use that phrase, nor do we plan to implement that practice," the company said in an email to The Associated Press.

Wendy's revealed its plans to invest $20 million to launch digital menu boards at all of its U.S. company-run restaurants by the end of 2025. An additional $10 million will support digital menu enhancements globally over the next two years. The company believes the digital boards "could allow us to change the menu offerings at different times of day and offer discounts and value offers to our customers more easily, particularly in the slower times of day."