It’s the battle of the most popular food court staple in the history of big-box retail.
As Costco fans already know, the warehouse grocery chain is top dog when it comes to popular food court items, and especially when it comes to its enduring $1.50 hot dog and soda combo. The iconic deal has been priced the same way since the 1980s and has become somewhat of a symbol of great value. However, a major rival is looking to shake things up in the world of hot dogs.
On Nov. 15, members-only warehouse chain Sam’s Club announced that it has lowered the price of its own hot dog and drink combo from $1.50 to $1.38, effectively dethroning Costco from its value deal throne.
“Frankly, it can’t be beat,” Sam’s Club notes on its website. “New lower price. Same great hot dog & drink combo. And the free refill are still flowin’.”
According to Doug McMillon, the CEO of Walmart, which owns Sam’s Club, reducing the price of the hot dog deal is part of the company’s effort to “make the everyday shopping trip better.” Other notable products that have recently gone down in price include racks of lamb and lobster tails, which McMillon reports are now 40% lower than they were in 2021.
The latest price cut from Sam’s Club comes less than two months after Richard Galanti, Costco’s chief financial officer, revealed that Costco will not be raising the price of its fan-favorite food court combo—ever!
Back in 2018, Craig Jelinek, Costco’s CEO, explained during a presentation that Jim Sinegal, Costco’s co-founder and former CEO, once told him, “If you raise the effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out.”
So Jelinek implemented a solution. To lessen production costs, Costco cut ties with its former hot dog supplier, Hebrew National, and built a Kirkland Signature hot dog factory in Los Angeles, and later, one in Chicago.
While the price of Costco’s hot dog and soda combo remains the same amid ongoing inflation, the big-box retailer can’t say the same about all of its food court items. Back in July, the company upped the cost of its beloved chicken bake from $2.99 to $3.99 and is now offering its 20-ounce soda for $0.69 after previously selling it for $0.59.