I don't usually read the Costco Connection -- the corporate propaganda Coscto puts out every month and sends to every member in the mail -- but this month is different. The cover story was all about the food court, its past and future. And I've gotta say: it was quite an interesting read -- especially if you've enjoyed the $1.50 hot dog and drink combo like I have, which we dubbed as the Best Hot Dog on our 2007 Best Of Issue.
To read the whole article, CLICK HERE
. But here are some of the interesting factoids that I will bullet point for your convenience:
- It started as a single hot dog stand in front of a San Diego warehouse in 1984.
- They tapped the only employee who had food-service experience to run the cart. He still works there as a food-service supervisor.
- Costco food courts vary only slightly around the world: In Canada, they offer poutine (French fries with gravy and cheese curds). In the UK, they serve jacket potatoes (baked potatoes with special fillings). In Japan and Korea, their chicken bakes have bulgogi in them. And in Mexico, the pizza is topped with seafood.
- The cost of the $1.50 hot dog special has not risen since its inception in 1985.
- The original $1.50 combo price was based on a 12-ounce can of soda. Today, it's a 20-ounce fountain drink with free refills.
- In 2008, Costco sold more than 82 million hot dogs.
- In 2009, they expect to sell more than 90 million.
- In 2007, one of their two kosher hot dog suppliers quit the kosher meat business. Another kosher raw-ingredient supplier closed down. There was a decrease in supply.
On this note comes the bombshell: Costco decided to develop their own dog.
The new Kirkland dog is "10 percent heavier and longer than the old," made with "100% beef with only fresh USDA Choice or better cuts" and "without fillers, binder, phosphates, corn syrup, artificial color and artificial flavors".
Though my local Costco still seems to tout their Hebrew Nationals, I don't think I would've noticed even if they made the switch. And if I get 10% for my $1.50, even better. After all, we're Americans. And this is Costco.