MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Wendy’s ‘surge-pricing’ strategy scrubbed after viral backlash

Feb 28, 2024, 11:00 AM | Updated: 12:41 pm

FILE - A sign stands over a Wendy's restaurant . (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)...

FILE - A sign stands over a Wendy's restaurant . (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Wendy’s is backing off plans for Uber-like “surge pricing” after backlash from customers.

In an updated statement, the fast-food restaurant says it has no plans for surge pricing, despite its CEO telling shareholders — during an earnings call less than two weeks ago — it would begin testing more enhanced features of its new AI menu boards, like “dynamic pricing.”

More on fast food: California fast food workers to get $20 minimum wage under new deal between labor and the industry

Dynamic pricing would allow restaurants to quickly raise prices in reaction to rush hour or inclement weather.

Conversely, prices could drop during off-peak hours. In the new statement, Wendy’s insisted it has no plans to “raise prices when our customers are visiting us most.”

The idea of surge pricing was widely panned by Seattlites that KIRO Newsradio spoke to on their lunch breaks.

“It would be confusing,” Ravi Iyer said. “It seems a little bit opportunistic.”

“I think it sounds like price gouging,” Jordan Klakamp said.

Tom Munro said he didn’t think there was technically anything wrong with the move but said he believes “it is a shady practice.”

Dan Fetzer sees one clear outcome.

“They’ll look at when people take lunch, and they’ll drive the prices up,” Fetzer said.

More from Heather Bosch: Some say Mariners new uniforms should go in ‘the Big Dumper’

Fetzer was with a group of people, including Jason Todd, who were holding hard hats. Todd pointed out that many of them share the same lunchtime.

“So you’re going to charge all these guys who work hard for their money … and then you’re going to turn around, and during their break, you’re going to charge them more? For what? Having a job that requires them to work certain hours?” he asked. “That’s messed up.”

Heather Bosch is an award-winning anchor and reporter on KIRO Newsradio. You can read more of her stories here. Follow Heather on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

MyNorthwest News

Photo: The King County Council Law and Justice Committee convened to vote on a motion regarding the...

James Lynch

King County Council sees heated comments over family justice center

The King County Council Law and Justice Committee convened to vote on a motion regarding the Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center.

6 hours ago

Photo: Police responded to a Kent shooting after a boy died near the Kentwood Apartments....

Julia Dallas

Suspect in custody: 13-year-old boy killed in Kent shooting over camera

A suspect is in custody over the shooting death of a 13-year-old boy that happened July 16 in Kent.

8 hours ago

Netanyahu protesters...

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Netanyahu vows ‘total victory’ while thousands protest outside capitol

Netanyahu addressed Congress in Washington on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the nation's capitol city was filled with protesters.

10 hours ago

7-year-old robbery...

Luke Duecy

7-year-old among group of juveniles wanted for robbery in North Seattle

A group of juveniles, including a 7-year-old, are wanted for robbery in North Seattle after an incident earlier this week.

13 hours ago

Corkscrew stabbing Seattle...

Bill Kaczaraba

Corkscrew used in downtown Seattle stabbing

Seattle Police apprehended a 52-year-old man following a stabbing with a corkscrew near City Hall in downtown Seattle.

13 hours ago

sexual abuse foster washington...

Frank Sumrall

WA to pay $15 million to 3 sisters who were sexually abused in foster home

The State of Washington has agreed to pay $15 million to three sisters who faced sexual abuse at a foster home in Centralia.

14 hours ago

Wendy’s ‘surge-pricing’ strategy scrubbed after viral backlash