Costco Commits to Hot Dog and Soda Combo Price, Possibly 'Forever'

Costco Wholesale will keep its hot dog and soda combo at $1.50, the company promises.

Though price hikes have been happening for specific items, the big box retailer has committed to keeping that particular snack under two dollars.

Costco CFO Richard Galanti said during a presentation on fourth-quarter financial results Thursday that they're not trying to fill in the gaps potentially left by the inexpensive meal.

"We really don't look at it that way," he explained on the call, MarketWatch reported. Galanti said other areas like the gas and travel side of the business were doing well enough to help them "be more aggressive" in other parts of the store.

"Or, as you mentioned, hold the price on the hot dog and the soda a little longer — forever," he said.

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Customers wait in line to order below signage for the Costco Kirkland Signature $1.50 hot dog and soda combo, which has maintained the same price since 1985 despite consumer price increases and inflation, at the food court outside a Costco Wholesale Corp. store on June 14, 2022 in Hawthorne, California. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)


If adjusted for inflation, MarketWatch calculated, the hot dog combo would be $4.11 by now. But it's a massive part of the brand's culture — and history — to keep it at the $1.50 price tag.

In an interview on CNBC in July, CEO Craig Jelinek gave a one-word answer when asked whether he would raise the signature food court item's price: "No."

Way back in April 2018, Jelinek spoke at the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce in Washington, where Costco's corporate headquarters are, about the dogs.

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"I came to [Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal] once and I said, 'Jim, we can't sell this hot dog for a buck fifty. We are losing our rear ends.' And he said, 'If you raise the effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out,'" Jelinek said, according to 425 Business.

"What we figured out, we could do is build our own hot dog-manufacturing plant (in Los Angeles) and make our own Kirkland Signature hot dogs. Now we are doing so much hot dog business that we've opened up another plant in Chicago," Jelinek explained. "By having the discipline to say, 'You are not going to be able to raise your price. You have to figure it out,' we took it over and started manufacturing our hot dogs. We keep it at $1.50 and make enough money to get a fair return."

GOLETA, CA - JULY 8: An outdoor food court area at the Costco in the Camino Real Marketplace Shopping Center, located just north of Santa Barbara, is viewed on July 8, 2022, in Goleta, California. Because of its close proximity to Southern California and Los Angeles population centers, the coastal communities of Santa Barbara County have become a popular weekend getaway destination for millions of tourists each year. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

George Rose/Getty

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With 583 locations, in 48 U.S. states, Costco's appeal is broad. Although, shoppers now have to have a Costco card to enjoy the food court after the retailer changed its membership policy in 2020.

Galanti said they have no plans to raise membership fees, which currently start at $60.