Costco CEO Reveals 'Most Important Item' Sold Isn't $1.50 Hot Dog

Costco Food Court Hot Dog Sign

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Costco CEO Ron Vachris believes that the wholesale store's membership card is "the most important item we sell," rather than the popular $1.50 hot dog combo or any other food court offerings during an interview with Fortune in May.

Costco offers annual membership access ranging from $60 for its Gold Star card and $120 for its executive card. The Gold Star membership allows access to the warehouse store and deals, while the Executive Membership provides a bonus 2% cash back on all purchases.

Costco has, however, gained a loyal fanbase from its $1.50 hot dog-soda combo, which newly appointed CFO Gary Millerchip confirmed would remain available at its same price last month CNN's Nathaniel Meyersohn.

"Costco’s new finance chief today: 'I also want to confirm the $1.50 hot dog price is safe,'" Meyersohn wrote on his X account.

Costco has offered the quarter pound all beef hot dog and soda combo at the low price of $1.50 since 1985, despite rising inflation, in adherence with a pledge made by its founders. Then-CEO Craig Jelinek told Mental Floss in 2018 that since-retired former CEO and co-founder Jim Sinegal threatened to kill him if he ever changed the hot dog combo price.

“If you raise [the price of] the effing hot dog, I will kill you,” Sinegal said, according to Jelinek. “Figure it out.”

Rumors about the price of the hot dog combo circulated when former CFO Richard Galanti stepped down in March after several decades with the company. Costco, which has a $60 annual membership fee, has also focused on cracking down on non-members dining at its food court beginning in April.

The big-box warehouse club has 871 stores across the United States and Puerto Rico and is estimated to make more than $4 billion annually through membership fees.

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