Costco Founder Said He Would “Kill” The CEO If He Raised The Price Of Their Hot Dog

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Amid economic ups and downs across the nation, there is one place you can still count on to keep things simple and affordable: the illustrious Costco food court.

Jim Sinegal, one of Costco’s founders, made it clear: the $1.50 hot dog price wasn’t up for debate. He even had a direct chat with the CEO at the time, Craig Jelinek, warning him against any price hikes.

“I came to Jim once and I said, ‘Jim, we can’t sell this hot dog for a buck fifty. We are losing our rear ends,’” Jelinek shared. “And he said, ‘If you raise the (price of the) effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out.’ That’s all I really needed. By the way, if you raised it to $1.75, it would not be that big of a deal. People would still buy. But it’s the mindset that when you think of Costco, you think of the $1.50 hot dog.”

So, despite everything else getting pricier, you can count on the Costco hot dog staying just as budget-friendly as ever.


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The price of Costco’s hot dog and soda combo has stayed at $1.50 since 1985.

There’s a sentimental attachment too: Costco’s other co-founder, Jeffrey Brotman, began his journey with a hot dog cart in Seattle. Before his passing, Jim Sinegal pledged to honor their shared history by keeping the hot dog price unchanged.

“Some businesses that are doing well with margin…those things help us be more aggressive in other areas, or hold the price on the hot dog and the soda a little longer — forever,” Costco’s CFO Richard Galanti previously stated.

Costco’s CEO took a firm stance on the issue.

During a 2022 interview on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” CEO Craig Jelinek gave a succinct response when questioned about raising the price of the signature food court item: “No.”

People clearly love Costco’s hot dog combo, going as far as making it the theme of their birthday parties and even adopting a week-long diet centered solely around this meal.

Here’s to hoping the $1.50 hot dog will continue to stick around for a long time. Or, in the words of CFO Richard Galanti, forever!


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