Since 1985, Costco’s $1.50 hot dog combo deal has been a company staple. In 2021, Costco sold more than 122 million hot dog and soda combos worldwide, the company announced in January 2022.
On May 18, a tweet claiming Costco had announced plans to raise the price of its hot dog combo from $1.50 to $2.50 because of inflation went viral, garnering more than 5,000 likes. The claim was also shared by several verified Twitter accounts, including the House GOP, which blamed the Biden administration for the alleged hot dog price increase.
Is Costco raising the price of its hot dog combo?
- Bob Nelson, Costco’s senior vice president of finance and investor relations
- Local Costco stores across multiple states
No, Costco is not raising the price of its hot dog combo.
WHAT WE FOUND
Bob Nelson, Costco’s senior vice president of finance and investor relations, addressed the hot dog price increase claims during the company’s Q3 earnings call on May 26. Nelson, who called the claims “incorrect information,” told shareholders the company has no plans to raise the price of its hot dog combo anytime soon.
“I want to address some incorrect information floating around on social media and a few other media outlets claiming that we have increased the price of our $1.50 hot dog-and-soda combinations sold in our food courts. Let me just say the price, when we introduced the hot dog-soda combo in the mid-'80s, was $1.50. The price today is $1.50, and we have no plans to increase the price at this time,” Nelson said.
VERIFY also conducted our own independent investigations at Costcos located in San Diego and Glenarden, Maryland, and can confirm the hot dog combo remains $1.50 for an all-beef hot dog and a 20-ounce soda, with a refill, as of June 6.
Craig Jelinek, Costco’s president, CEO, and director, said he brought up raising the price of the popular cheap eat once but was met with a threat from the company’s co-founder Jim Sinegal.
Sharing the story during a luncheon held by the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce in 2018, Jelinek said he went to Sinegal one day and explained, “Jim, we can’t sell this hot dog for a buck fifty. We are losing our rear ends.”
Jelinek said Sinegal replied by saying, “If you raise the effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out.”
Jelinek said Costco figured out how to avoid raising the price by building its own hot dog manufacturing plants in Los Angeles and Chicago and selling the hot dogs under its Kirkland Signature brand.
“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,” Jelinek said, according to news reports.