Inflation has finally taken its toll on Costco. In particular, inflation appears to be hitting a staple of the Costco shopping experience that its members often love and can't get enough of: the food court at the exit of many Costco superstores.
Costco's food court has always offered insanely low prices. Their $1.50 hot dogs are a popular menu item, for example, and their sodas still sell for under $1. A pizza for an entire family costs less than a small pizza from many local pizza joints.
While many of those prices have stayed low despite record-breaking nationwide inflation, that's starting to change. According to reporting from Insider, Costco has begun to increase the prices on several popular items in its food court.
For now, the price increases are relatively minor. The price of Costco's chicken bake is increasing by $1 from $2.99 to $3.99, and the price of its signature cheap fountain sodas is going up by a dime from $0.59 to $0.69.
While these immediate price increases certainly won't break the bank, they don't bode well for the future. If even Costco is being forced to raise its notoriously low food court prices--which are a big draw for many of its members--what kinds of price increases are next?
Costco's beloved $1.50 hot dog could be the next menu item to fall--or rather to rise, in price. Prices on many items around Costco are likely already higher as a result of inflation, even if the food court prices have been kept artificially low. Those prices will likely continue to increase as supply chain woes and the war in Ukraine lead to additional shortages and squeezes.
For now, Costco members will likely grumble about their pricier chicken and sodas. In the future, no one knows if these kinds of increases will continue or slow down, or whether broader and more impactful price increases will continue.
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Thomas Smith is a writer and content professional based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is available to hire for freelance writing projects.