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The Human Side of Dynamic Pricing for Restaurants

dynamic pricing fairness

Exploring Dynamic Pricing in Restaurants: Striking a Balance Between Earning More and Keeping Prices Fair

Dynamic pricing has been getting a lot of buzz lately. While it offers many advantages for businesses, the topic of dynamic pricing with restaurant chains can spark a range of reactions and discussions among customers – especially if it's misunderstood as simple "surge pricing." It's clear that with the right approach, dynamic pricing can be a smart strategy for restaurants looking to optimize their profits. The challenge comes when focusing too narrowly on the numbers, without considering how these pricing changes resonate with the people actually dining in those restaurants.

Let us share a story that highlights this challenge. A connection who is a regular at a popular national chain confided in his  social network (that was supposed to be ironic😜) about his weekly order becoming a bit of a mystery.


Over ten weeks, he diligently tracked his receipts, finding that prices for his usual items fluctuated significantly – from just a few cents up to over seven dollars more!

Puzzled, he posted about it on a community forum to see if others had similar experiences. The responses ranged from confusion to wild conspiracy theories about corporate greed and surge pricing tactics. While the restaurant's official pricing strategy wasn't disclosed, this anecdote demonstrates how dynamic pricing efforts can backfire if customer perceptions aren't carefully managed.

Screenshot 2024-04-15 at 11.44.56 AMThis underscores the need for restaurants to strike a balance between increasing profits and maintaining the loyalty of valued guests like our friend. It serves as a reminder that behind the numbers and analytics guiding pricing decisions, there are real people whose experiences and reactions must be considered!


The key is maximizing revenue without alienating the very customers who keep those revenues flowing!

Important questions start to bubble up, like whether your customers would appreciate transparent communication about dynamic pricing policies. Or how different customers might react to prices fluctuating for different menu items at different times. Exploring these human elements through testing and research is crucial for understanding how dynamic pricing strategies truly affect customer behavior and sentiment.

JUICER uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to examine customer data and sentiment data.  The data is meticulously collected, integrated, and interpreted through a pricing-specific lens. Only through this diligent management of voice-of-customer insights can restaurants balance revenue strategies with carefully calibrated reactions that preserve the beloved dining experience for everyone.

Takeaways from this story:

  1. Implementing dynamic pricing solely focused on maximizing profits, without considering customer sentiment, risks alienating the very customers who sustain the business.
  2. Striking the right balance between revenue strategies and preserving the beloved dining experience is crucial for long-term success with dynamic pricing.
  3. Restaurants must diligently explore the human elements - how customers perceive, react and behave in response to dynamic pricing approaches.
  4. Continuously measuring customer sentiment through surveys, focus groups, social listening, transactional data analysis, and AI-powered techniques like NLP and facial coding is essential.
  5. Being meticulous yet empathetic in the dynamic pricing approach by prioritizing the voice of the customer will prevent erosion of trust and loyalty.
  6. Adapting pricing strategies based on consistently captured customer insights is vital to realizing the revenue benefits of dynamic pricing sustainably.


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