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Wendy's Retracts Surge Pricing Following Outrage

For years, Wendy’s has been known to be astute in its use of social media to bolster its brand. But recently the company was caught flat-footed, and had to quickly backpedal to defuse a potentially catastrophic public relations scandal.

It started with a corporate earnings call to investors. Wendy’s CEO Kirk Tanner said, “Beginning as early as 2025, we will begin testing more enhanced features like dynamic pricing.” Dynamic pricing is a practice wherein the cost of something fluctuates depending on external factors that affect the product’s demand, like the time of day, day of the week, or the popularity of the product.

In response to this earnings call, journalists likened it to the concept of surge pricing in rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft, where rides cost more or less depending on how many cars are on the road.

In response to this news, people on social began bashing Wendy’s, because of what they perceived to be another example of corporate greed. One user on X said, “Imagine standing in line and watching the price of a Frostee increase by $2 as soon as you get to the register.”

The company was forced to respond. Whether or not their response was a reversal of plans or simply a clarification of intent, the company released a statement saying that it had no plans for surge pricing. A spokesperson for Wendy’s said, “We said these menu boards would give us more flexibility to change the display of featured items. We have no plans to … raise prices when our customers are visiting us most.”

Analyst Jennifer Dublino understands the outrage, pointing to unfair practices by corporate behemoths like Ticketmaster that result in customers revolting in droves. She said, “If customers are confused or feel taken advantage of by fluctuating prices, they may opt to purchase from a competitor with fixed pricing.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

Those who pursue profits at the expense of everything else often face harsh consequences.

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