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Wendy's says it has no plans to 'implement surge pricing' at restaurants

The Wendy's sign is seen at a restaurant, Jan. 23, 2023, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File) The Wendy's sign is seen at a restaurant, Jan. 23, 2023, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
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Wendy's says that it has no plans to increase prices during the busiest times at its restaurants.

The burger chain clarified its stance on how it will approach pricing after media picked up on comments by CEO Kirk Tanner that the company would test features like dynamic pricing at restaurants.

Companies like Uber have used dynamic pricing, or surge pricing, to moderate use by customers during the busiest days of the year, or when drivers or cars are in short supply during the day. Prices rise and fall with demand using that business model.

This month during a conference call with investors and industry analysts, Tanner said, "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."

The company said Wednesday, after the story began to circulate this week, that any features it decides to test in the future "would be designed to benefit our customers and restaurant crew members."

"Wendy's will not implement surge pricing, which is the practice of raising prices when demand is highest. We didn't use that phrase, nor do we plan to implement that practice," the company said in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

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.

Wendy's said that its digital menu boards "could allow us to change the menu offerings at different times of day and offer discounts and value offers to our customers more easily, particularly in the slower times of day."

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