N.Y. lawmaker introduces bill over Wendy’s dynamic pricing

A New York state lawmaker introduced legislation on Thursday that aims to ban dynamic pricing on food items in response to fast food chain Wendy’s plan to test a system where prices for various items could fluctuate based on demand.

Democratic state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, of the Capital Region, introduced the “Fair Food Pricing Act,” which his office said is meant to protect consumers from potential exploitation and manipulation.

Wendy’s said earlier this week the Ohio-based fast food company plans to experiment with dynamic pricing on its menu in 2025. It’s one component of a $20 million digital menu investment that will enable Wendy’s operators to experiment with altering prices based on how much traffic they have. The company also plans to change its menu based on time of day. A spokesperson for Wendy’s told Spectrum News 1 they “have no plans” to raise prices during peak times.

Santabarbara argues dynamic pricing can lead to increased costs for consumers without their knowledge or consent.

“Consumers deserve fair and transparent pricing when purchasing food items,” Santabarbara said in a statement. “My legislation will ensure that all New Yorkers have access to affordable and predictable pricing when dining out.”

Starting in early 2025, Wendy’s will also test AI-enabled menu changes and so-called suggestive selling, where customers are offered recommendations based on factors such as weather.

Santabarbara said that also raises concerns about consumer privacy and autonomy.

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