For the past 37 years, Costco has managed to keep the price of its beloved hot dog meal at $1.50 and has been widely praised for it—to the point that the warehouse chain’s founder famously said, “If you raise the [price of the] effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out.” Yet while Costco gets lots of press for its hot dog deal, the lesser known Sam’s Club Frank meal has also remained steady at $1.50 for roughly the same amount of time. It seems Sam’s Club is sick and tired of being ignored, so it made a big move this week to set itself apart from Costco, lowering the price of its hot dog meal to just $1.38.
Why Sam’s Club lowered the price of its hot dog
Sam’s Club’s deal, like Costco’s, includes a hot dog and a fountain drink from the in-store cafe. And like Costco, Sam’s Club recognizes this small offering as a way to get people in the door.
“We’re always proud when we can add value to the membership, especially when it’s with a member favorite like our café hotdog combo,” Sam’s Club tells The Takeout. “This is the type of activity that fuels our business and allows us to continually delight members.”
One of the biggest differences is that Sam’s Club hot dogs aren’t just for members. Unlike Costco, which in recent years has cracked down on non-members in its food court, Sam’s Club’s cafe is open to everyone. The strategy seems twofold: The store is opening itself up to even more cafe sales and can lure in potential new members in the process.
How Sam’s Club is staying competitive with Costco
The lowered price of the hot dog combo meal is just one way that Sam’s Club is currently trying to give members more bang for their buck. For example, along with typical Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, Sam’s Club is introducing several holiday specials throughout the season, like the mysterious “Big Screen Surprise” on November 18 and the food-focused “Taste of Sam’s Club” sale running November 18-20.
“This price decrease is indicative of the journey we’re on—to make the Sam’s Club membership the most valuable subscription you have,” Sam’s Club says. “It’s our job to work on behalf of our members and continue to increase the value of their membership.”
On the basis of cost alone, Sam’s Club is already winning—Costco’s lowest level membership is $60 versus $50 at Sam’s Club, and that $50 price tag is only after Sam’s Club raised the price for the first time in nine years due to inflation. And Sam’s Club outranks Costco in size as well, operating 600 warehouses in the U.S. compared to Costco’s 579. This new hot dog meal deal just might increase Sam’s Club popularity even more, making it a clear winner in the warehouse wars.