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Costco just raised prices of two food court favorites

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

  • Costco hiked the prices of chicken bakes and soda at its food court.
  • The company hasn’t indicated it plans to raise the price of a hot dog and soda combination.
  • Inflation is pushing up prices across grocery stores as ingredients become more costly. 

Costco has raised prices on two items in its beloved food court: the chicken bake and the 20-ounce soda.

The price hikes were verified by visiting a location in Rochester, New York and phone calls to food courts of other locations, where workers confirmed the changes and said it was a national update.

The chicken bake, a breaded dish filled with chicken, cheese, bacon, and a Caesar dressing, now sells for $3.99 — $1 more than in June. The soda price increased from $0.59 to $0.69, an increase of 10 cents or about 17%.

Fans of Costco’s famous hot dog and soda combo can rest easy for now, though. In May, Costco Senior Vice President Robert Nelson told investors that there were no current plans to increase the $1.50 deal, despite “online rumors.”

The company has been saying the same thing about consistent prices since the deal was set in 1985.

“We have no plans to take that hot dog above a buck fifty. End of story,” CEO Craig Jelinek said in January 2020.

And Costco founder Jim Senegal once famously told CEO Craig Jelinek: “If you raise the [price of the] effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out.”

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. 

Despite Costco’s vocal commitment to keeping certain items priced the same, the hikes aren’t completely surprising. Grocery prices have skyrocketed, with inflation reaching 14.6% for the industry in May according to analytics firm Numerator, though membership stores like Costco were able to keep inflation around a relatively mild 7% over last year.

These growing prices directly impact the products that Costco just repriced. In May, chicken prices were up over 17% over the previous year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wings and breasts are up the most, at 38% and 24% respectively, Wells Fargo found.  Soda prices are also up 13% year-over-year, the bank’s analysts wrote.

Costco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at [email protected].

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