Costco's iconic hot dog deal is still $1.50, despite record inflation rates raising prices everywhere else in the industry

Costco's iconic hot dog deal is still $1.50, despite record inflation rates raising prices everywhere else in the industry
Irene Jiang / Business Insider
  • Costco has sold hot dog and soda combos for $1.50 since 1985.
  • The retailer has publicly committed to maintaining the price of deal over the years.

As swelling inflation rates continue to hit an array of consumer goods, there's one staple Americans can rely on: the $1.50 hot dog and soda combo from Costco.

Though inflation has reached its highest level since 1990 — killing other classic bargains buyers used to rely on, from dollar pizza slices to dollar stores — Costco's iconic hot dog deal has remained the same price since it first launched in 1985.

"We have no plans to take that hot dog above a buck fifty. End of story," Costco CEO Craig Jelinek told shareholders in January 2020.

The company has publicly committed to maintaining the combo over the years. Costco founder Jim Senegal once told CEO Craig Jelinek, "If you raise the [price of the] effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out."

"It's the mindset that when you think of Costco, you think of the $1.50 hot dog," Jelinek told 425 Business, a local Seattle publication, in 2018.


The commitment to protecting the deal has paid off. During its 2019 fiscal year, Costco sold 151 million hot-dog combos for a total of nearly $226.5 million. The famously inexpensive snacks are part of what draws people to Costco, Jelinek said in April 2021, when the big box chain reopened its food courts during the pandemic.

The price has stayed stagnant even as beef, the primary ingredient in Costco hot dogs, has been particularly hard hit by lofty price increases, up over 20% year-over-year in December, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Costco has some control in this regard, because it operates Kirkland Signature hot dog factories in Los Angeles and Chicago as its own supplier.

So far over the inflationary period of the last year, Costco has also been reluctant to raise the prices of other staples, including its famous $4.99 rotisserie chicken. Costco Chief Financial Officer Rich Galanti said in a May earnings call that there were no plans to charge higher prices on the chicken, despite "inflationary pressures" including "higher labor costs, higher freight costs, higher transportation demand, along with the container shortage and port delays."

Costco did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

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