Wendy's New Surge Pricing Model Is Bound To Ruffle Some Feathers

person receiving Wendy's drive-thru order
person receiving Wendy's drive-thru order - Bloomberg/Getty Images

Big changes are underway at Wendy's, and customers are bracing themselves for higher prices as a result. The fast-food chain known for its square hamburger patties and tasty Frosty desserts has plans to adopt a dynamic pricing model in 2025, as reported by CNN Business. Users of popular rideshare services like Uber are already accustomed to this model, which entails charging higher prices during busier times of the day. According to Kirk Tanner, Wendy's CEO, the new pricing model is one of several updates the restaurant currently has in the works. "We will begin testing more enhanced features like dynamic pricing and daypart offerings along with AI-enabled menu changes and suggestive selling," he told Nation's Restaurant News.

AI menus appear to have already been implemented, at least at some locations. A video posted to TikTok shows a customer placing a drive-thru order courtesy of Fresh AI, Wendy's ordering platform. As for daypart offerings, these refer to menu items only available during certain times of the day. This goes hand in hand with Wendy's latest marketing push, which involves spending $55 million to advertise breakfast offerings throughout North America.

Read more: The Ultimate Ranking Of American Fast Food Restaurants

Consumers Are Feeling The Crunch Of Pricey Fast-Food Items

Wendy's storefront nighttime
Wendy's storefront nighttime - M. Suhail/Getty Images

Kirk Tanner also stated that the upcoming changes would "drive immediate benefits to order accuracy, improve crew experience and sales growth from upselling and consistent merchandising execution."

However, consumers aren't likely to take kindly to higher prices, especially amid increasingly expensive menu items across many chains. Just consider the effect of McDonald's increased menu prices. Despite a sales boost, higher prices at the Golden Arches resulted in fewer items being ordered during trips to the restaurant. As for the general public, reactions to Wendy's proposed plan have not been kind. On Reddit, users expressed dismay that the fast-food chain would adopt a surge pricing model. As stated by one commenter, "Fast food is already overpriced and people are pulling back. Way to kill your business."

Another person brought up a very important point about how dynamic pricing might impact Wendy's workforce. "Do the workers get paid more depending on dynamic pricing?" asked the commenter, to which another replied, "I'll bet instead they argue they should be able to pay workers less for 'slow' periods."

Dynamic pricing has been in place for rideshare companies for a while. And while consumers have some time to prepare before the pricing model takes effect, it appears that Wendy's has already riled its customers with the announcement.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.