Surge pricing for your Frosty? Wendy's lunch rush could cost you more

ByAndrea Fuji ABCNews logo
Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Surge pricing for your Frosty? Wendy's lunch rush could cost you more
Toni Yates has the latest.

NEW YORK -- There's a big change coming to one of the biggest fast-food chains in the country.

Wendy's is set to test surge pricing, so the cost of your burger would change depending on the time of day.

"Two Dave's singles. How much would it cost?"

You can ask, but starting soon, depending on the time of day, you might get a different answer.

Wendy's, the country's second-largest burger chain with 6,000 locations, announced that starting next year menu prices will fluctuate during the busiest times of day.

That means you could be paying as much as a dollar more for that Baconater during the lunch rush.

"Historically companies just set one price that was constant across time. Pricing algorithms allow companies to change prices throughout the day," said Zach Brown, Professor of Economics, the University of Michigan.

Wendy's CEO announced his company will spend $20 million on high-tech, digital menu boards that can update prices in real-time, meaning surge pricing, which used to be reserved for rideshare companies, airlines, and hotels. It could be coming to a drive-thru near you.

During the busy times, they can increase profits then. And some consumers, will want to shift to the less busy times when prices are lower.

Before it has even taken effect, the new surge pricing is getting a frosty reception online with one user on X (formerly Twitter) writing: "Surge pricing is just Price Gouging by any other name."

Wendy's told ABC News in a statement that the decision can allow them " be competitive and flexible with pricing, motivate customers to visit and provide them with the food they love at a great value."

The Eyewitness News Mornings @ 10 team weighs in.