Franchise backs down on testing menu with AI to change prices


The price of some products or services may vary throughout the day (for example: rides on apps). And Wendy's, a US fast-food franchise, apparently wanted to use “dynamic pricing” on its digital menus. But he retreated after repercussions on social media.

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In a statement, updated on Tuesday night (27), the fast-food chain clarified that it “has no plans” related to dynamic prices. “We said these menu panels would give us more flexibility to change the display of featured items. This was misinterpreted in some reports as an intention to increase prices when demand in our restaurants was higher”, informed the franchise. “We have no plans to do this and would not raise prices when our customers visit us more.”

Digital menu with AI

(Image: Reproduction/Wendy's)

Few details had been released about the change. But Wendy's CEO Kirk Tanner said the new menus would allow the fast-food chain to test more enhanced features like dynamic pricing and offers throughout the day. All this thanks to artificial intelligence.

We expect our digital menu boards to generate immediate benefits for order accuracy, improved staff experience and sales growth from upselling and consistent merchandising execution.

Kirk Tanner, CEO of Wendy's

The announcement, however, raised suspicions that the franchise could use technology to increase product prices at peak times, increasing profits. In a statement, Wendy's clarified that “dynamic pricing” will include new menus that may offer discounts at certain times of the day, denying the company from increasing prices during busy times.

Digital menu tests

Robotic hands holding newspaper to illustrate press and artificial intelligence
(Image: Freepik)
  • Digital menus were presented for the first time in a mockup revealed in 2022;
  • It featured new pickup windows, a more technologically advanced kitchen and an interior with a unique design;
  • The menus have already been launched in some drive-thrus;
  • According to the company, the new product would generate profits of US$2 billion per year (around R$10 billion);
  • The initiative is also being studied by other restaurant chains, such as the traditional McDonald's;
  • The information is from CNN.


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