In one of my recent QSR articles, I talked about the biggest challenges that operators foresee with the implementation of dynamic pricing.
I presented the survey respondents with ten possible challenges associated with dynamic pricing and asked them to rank their top three. Bet you can’t guess what came out on top!
Let me help you out a bit. I was reading through my local ‘nextdoor’ feed and noticed the following post.
“Last week, while dining out at a local restaurant, one of us noticed that the cost of his entree on the bill was higher than the menu price by $2. He brought the discrepancy up to the server and she at first appeared confused about it but eventually told us that there had been a price increase, but that the new menus had not yet been printed. She refused to correct the price to what had been advertised on the menu. Upon further checking, our table of 4 discovered that each entree was higher than the price which had been provided on the menus from which we placed our order for a total overage of $7 for our table. We stewed about this for a few minutes and observed others enter the restaurant and place to-go orders at the register without being told that the prices had changed and with no corrections having been made to the paper to-go menus or the regular dine-in menus. I flagged down our server and politely asked whether the manager was available and he was not. I replied that charging higher than menu prices without notifying customers of the change in advance was essentially theft and that if the management of the restaurant had made that change and the staff knows about it, then they're participating in the theft.”
As you might expect, there were quite few comments on this post and they were not exactly on the understanding side!
Indeed, survey respondents were most concerned about customer reaction to dynamic pricing. The top two reasons given were (1) how to communicate price differences to customers and (2) potential customer resistance. This concern showed up in multiple comments from respondents. Consider the following comments from the survey respondents, "customers need a certain level of predictability”, “can the price go up as I sit in the restaurant?”, “if the customer cannot count on their restaurant maintaining price stability, they will simply shop for their next meal via ‘expedia’-like apps,” and “unfair”.