A resurfaced interaction between Costco’s co-founder and CEO has sent Twitter into hysterics and turned the co-founder into an icon.
According to a Mental Floss article from 2018, current Costco president and CEO W. Craig Jelinek was in a meeting and complaining to Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal about how the company was losing money from sticking with Costco’s legendary quarter-pound hot dog and 20-ounce soda special.
As any real Costco enthusiast knows, the store’s deals aren’t limited to just the shopping aisles — the meal costs only $1.50. Costco hasn’t changed the price of the combo since 1984, when it was first introduced.
“I came to [Sinegal] once and I said, ‘Jim, we can’t sell this hot dog for a buck fifty. We are losing our rear ends,’” Jelinek said during a speech at the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce’s luncheon in 2018. “He said, ‘If you raise the effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out.’”
Instead of changing the price, Costco simply built its own hot dog manufacturing plant in Los Angeles. The company reports that it sells more than 100 million hot dogs on average each year.
“Now we are doing so much hot dog business that we’ve opened up another plant in Chicago,” Jelinek said.
For reference, a hot dog at Yankee Stadium costs $3 and a 20-ounce soda costs an additional $3 — and Yankee Stadium is on the lower end of the price spectrum for MLB concession stand food prices.
Hot dog street vendors around New York City can charge $2 per hot dog and an extra $2 for 20-ounce sodas.
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