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New Frontiers in Capitalism: Surge Testing Fast Food Prices

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I fail to see how this is really going to work for fast food companies, but this seems to be where we are in capitalism.

Wendy’s is looking to test having the prices of its menu items fluctuate throughout the day based on demand, implementing a strategy that has already taken hold with ride-sharing companies and ticket sellers.

During a conference call earlier this month, Wendy’s CEO Kirk Tanner said that the Dublin, Ohio-based burger chain will start testing dynamic pricing, also known as surge pricing, as early as next year.

“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,” he said. “As we continue to show the benefit of this technology in our company-operated restaurants, franchisee interest in digital menu boards should increase, further supporting sales and profit growth across the system.”

Wendy’s Co. plans to invest about $20 million to launch digital menu boards at all of its U.S. company-run restaurants by the end of 2025. It also plans to invest approximately $10 million over the next two years to support digital menu enhancements globally.

I guess there are people who eat so much fast food that they won’t really care or notice. Since my entire consumption of fast food basically is the rare road trip stop when I am in a big hurry and running behind (if I really do have to eat fast food, it is in fact more likely to be Wendy’s than anything else), I would just avoid this for something else. But I have trouble seeing people not reacting extremely negatively to this. Though what do I know?

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