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Chances are that if you’ve ever set foot inside
a Costco you’ve had the famous $1.50 hot dog and soda combo. We’ve all been stuffing our faces with this
insanely affordable, All-American meal deal for decades, but you probably do so without
much consideration. Here are a few little-known facts about the
simple and iconic food court staple. It started with a cart It might be hard to believe, but Costco’s
now booming food court business got started back in 1984 with a single hot dog cart. Hebrew National, their hot dog supplier at
the time, provided the cart in front of a San Diego warehouse for their first food service
trials. Things went very well: Costco now sells more
than 100 million $1.50 hot dogs a year. In 2015 that number hit a staggering 128 million,
which is said to be four times more hot dogs than what’s sold in all the major league baseball
stadiums combined. “Get your hot dogs while you can! Life is short, we could die at any minute,
who wants a hot dog?” The price has never changed You won’t hear any wistful reminiscing about
the good ol’ days when it comes to the price of the hot dog combo. Shockingly, the price has remained $1.50 since
1985. This isn’t an oversight by management — Costco
bigwigs say they see the food court “as a benefit that adds demonstrable value to membership.” “The typical retailer might look at this hot
dog and say, ‘Gee, I’m charging five bucks for this. I wonder if I could get five and a quarter
for it?’ We look at it and say, ‘It’s a buck-fifty. Is there any way we could reduce the price?'” A better deal than ever Typically, when the price of a food stays
the same for decades, you expect to see a decrease in size to compensate. But that’s not the case with the Costco dog
plus soda meal. In fact, it’s gotten bigger. When the combo first debuted, $1.50 got you
a 12-ounce can of soda and a quarter pound dog. Today, you get a 20-ounce soda with free refills
and a dog that’s 10 percent bigger and longer. “Well, I maxed the size of my hot dog. Why have a foot long when you can have a yard
long?” They leveled up the dogs In a move that angered a legion of Hebrew
National fans, Costco stopped offering the kosher dogs and made the switch to sell their
own Kirkland brand hot dogs in their food courts in 2009 — but it wasn’t entirely
their decision. The new hot dog was developed after their
suppliers either quit or were closed down, and the result is the 10 percent bigger all-beef
dog we’ve all come to know and love today. Surprisingly healthy We already know that the Kirkland hot dogs
are 100 percent beef, but after years of hearing horror stories about sketchy ingredients in
wieners, it’s somewhat surprising to learn that they contain no by-products, corn syrup,
phosphates, fillers, artificial color or artificial flavors. Wondering how they stack up against other
fast food dogs? Burger King’s flame-grilled hot dogs have
60 fewer calories and 15 fewer grams of fat, but contain corn syrup and phosphates, and
cost 50 cents more, no drink included. They’re a loss leader Costco realizes they aren’t making money on
their popular combo meal, and they’re totally fine with that. The hot dogs are a loss leader, meaning that
they attract customers with the promise of a dirt cheap lunch, who in turn go and spend
hundreds on gigantic jars of pickles and reasonably priced electronics. At the end of the day, Costco is coming out
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Randall Smitham