The $1 hot dogs at Costco sound like a great idea in theory — it’s a cheap, delicious snack or meal, after all. But once you know the truth about its history, will you think twice about buying one? Of course, there are always horror stories about hot dogs in general, but this video lays out some interesting Costco hot dog facts.
Origin Story: Costco’s hot dogs first burst on the scene in 1984 and the price hasn’t changed since. At the time, they were sold from a hot dog cart in front of the store in San Diego, California. Fun fact: the first hot dog cart operator still works at Costco: Jay de Geus. He’s now the regional food-service supervisor.
Size Change: Tip Hero points out that oftentimes, when the price of something remains the same, the product becomes smaller. Costco’s hot dog has actually gotten bigger, 10 percent plumper and longer than when it first started. Plus, the drink that comes with the hot dog used to be 12 ounces in 1984 and is now 20 ounces with free refills. So yeah, you’re getting your money’s worth.
Brand Change: While Costco’s original hot dog supplier for their first cart was Hebrew National, when the company closed in 2009, Costco moved to a new brand, their own, in fact. They now sell the Kirkland brand hot dogs.
Soggy Buns: Tip Hero notes that since Costco chefs steam the buns then wrap them in foil, they can sometimes be a bit soggy. That’s a small inconvenience for the tiny pricetag.
Healthy Choice: Hot dogs usually are slammed for having chemicals and fillers, but the Kirkland hot dogs at Costco are made with 100 percent beef and have no by-products, fillers, artificial colors, flavors, or corn syrup.
It’s Not Much of a Money Maker: At the price point that Costco sells their hot dogs, they’re not making a profit, but their is an upside. They call it a “loss leader” because, while they may lose money on the hot dogs overall, they’re getting people into the store. More people coming into the store for the cheap hot dog often translates into them shopping for other items… and spending!
Huge Numbers: Would you beleive that Costco sells 100 million of the hot dogs at their store each year? In 2015, they sold 128 million, which is four times what they sold at at all the major league baseball stadiums combined.
Among the comments on social media about Costco’s hot dogs were many satisfied customers, with one person noting: “I had one for dinner last night… I’m glad to hear that there aren’t any gross things in them… chemicals etc. I didn’t know that.”
Others remarked on the total value of getting the hot dogs, with one person simply noting: “You never have to go hungry as long as there are Costco hot dogs. $1.58 with drink included.”
Still another commenter was floored by the amount sold, sharing: “They sold 128 million of them in 2015! I knew that number would be big, but not THAT BIG. WOW!!”