How much does it cost to eat at Wendy’s? In the future, the answer to that question could fluctuate constantly as the fast-food chain prepares to roll out a new pricing strategy.

During a recent earnings call, Wendy’s announced plans to start testing “dynamic pricing” at its restaurants as early as 2025. Also commonly known as “surge pricing,” this is a practice in which businesses adjust their prices based on demand, the time of day, or other factors. The strategy will probably sound familiar to Uber customers since the ride service uses dynamic pricing to charge more during times of high demand or inclement weather.

Wendy’s plans to spend roughly $20 million on installing new digital menu boards at all of its company-owned restaurants in the United States by the end of 2025. The upgrade will be a key factor in rolling out the dynamic pricing strategy because it will allow Wendy’s restaurants to quickly and easily tweak their prices.

Wendy's drive-thru
QualityHD / Shutterstock

In a statement shared with TODAY.com, the company said that surge pricing “can allow Wendy’s to be competitive and flexible with pricing, motivate customers to visit, and provide them with the food they love at a great value.”

However, whether Wendy’s customers will respond well to the pricing strategy remains to be seen. Other fast-food chains, like McDonald’s and Taco Bell, have been facing significant online criticism in recent months after raising their prices. While Wendy’s hasn’t revealed many details about how its dynamic pricing will work, the strategy is already garnering some pushback from consumers worried that the chain will become less affordable.

“Starting today I will no longer be eating at @Wendys. It is wrong to charge ‘surge pricing’ on food because you are busy,” one consumer posted on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.

“If Wendy’s really does surge pricing that’s my last time eating there,” another wrote.

When contacted for comment on its dynamic pricing plans and the criticism, Wendy’s shared the following statement with Eat This, Not That!:

“As we’ve previously shared, we are making a significant investment in technology to accelerate our digital business. In addition to evolving our loyalty program, one of the other benefits of these investments will be the flexibility to change the menu more easily and to offer discounts and value offers to our customers through innovations such as digital menu boards, which will roll out in some U.S. restaurants.”

“Wendy’s has always been about providing high-quality food at a great value to our customers and this recent investment will continue that by driving traffic and providing value during slower parts of the day,” the statement continued. “As early as 2025, we plan to test a number of features such as AI-enabled menu changes and suggestive selling based on factors such as weather that we think will provide great value and an improved customer and crew experience.”

Zoe Strozewski

Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe
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