Man talking(l+r), Wendy's sign(c)

Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock @0.1percentcoach/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘They’re gonna pull an Uber’: Man says Wendy’s will start ‘dynamic pricing’ soon. What does it mean?

'Wendy's will be price-gouging soon.'


Stacy Fernandez


Posted on Feb 28, 2024   Updated on Feb 28, 2024, 8:22 am CST

People are so outraged over Wendy’s proposed dynamic pricing model that they’ve called for a boycott of the fast food burger spot. But Wendy’s CEO says people have it all wrong.

TikToker Justin (@0.1percentcoach), who covers financial news, recapped the Wendy’s announcement, saying, “Wendy’s will be price gouging soon.”

The Wendy’s CEO announced earlier this month that the company planned to roll out “dynamic pricing” and invest about $20 million toward new digital menus in all of its 415 company-owned stores (if that sounds like too little it’s because the other 7,000 locations are franchises) by the end of 2025.

When people, including reporters across multiple news outlets, heard the news, they compared it to the other main examples we have of “dynamic” or “surge” pricing—Uber and flights.

With both of these modes of transportation, the more demand there is (like getting an Uber during rush hour or on a rainy day, or booking a domestic flight during the holidays) the higher the price of the same service.

Well, that’s what everybody thought was going on with Wendy’s “dynamic pricing,” worrying that prices would go up during times like the lunch rush.

“They’re gonna pull an Uber and introduce dynamic pricing so their prices can fluctuate during the day,” Justin says. “…Wendy’s wants to find ways to raise prices even further and squeeze consumers even more.”

Consumers were further concerned by the potential long-lasting impact the dynamic pricing model could have across the restaurant industry. If Wendy’s pulls this off, other restaurants (big and small) would likely take their lead if it meant higher profits, many customers worried.

Justin agrees that “other fast food companies are gonna play follow the leader if this move works out.” He adds that this would certainly be a blow to people’s budgets given how high inflation for eating out remains.

“Now my recommendation for Wendy’s would be to scrap this strategy because consumers are suffering badly enough,” Justin said, adding that American consumers are spending more money on food now than at any point in the last three decades.

@0.1percentcoach #greenscreen Wendy’s will be introducing dynamic pricing soon, the first fast food restaurant in history to do so. #wendys #surgepricing #dynamicpricing #breakingnews ♬ original sound – Justin

“I was able to drop mcdonalds so fast in October why does wendys think this wont happen too??” the top comment under Justin’s video read.

But Wendy’s CEO Kirk Tanner took to the internet to clarify that, no, they won’t be raising prices during peak hours.

In a statement on the Wendy’s blog, Tanner explained that reports got it wrong. Instead, the dynamic pricing will target different discounts and value offers, and adjust the featured menu items during different times of the day, especially slower hours.

“We have no plans to do that and would not raise prices when our customers are visiting us most. Any features we may test in the future would be designed to benefit our customers and restaurant crew members,” Tanner said.

USA Today noted in a recent article on the matter that a Wendy’s spokesperson had confirmed how the dynamic pricing would work and hadn’t specified that the new pricing model would only lower prices, not raise them.

The Daily Dot reached out to Justin and Wendy’s for comment via email.

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*First Published: Feb 28, 2024, 9:00 am CST