Everything Is Getting More Expensive... Except Rotisserie Chicken

Costco also reiterated that they won't be raising the cost of their $1.50 hot dog and soda deal.

Grilling whole chickens in a rotisserie machine
Photo: Liudmila Chernetska / Getty Images

Soaring inflation has driven up the price of nearly everything at the grocery store, from name brands like Oreos, Ritz, and Cheerios to shopping staples like milk and meat. But supermarkets seem insistent on keeping the price of at least one category of items from increasing: signature deals like cheap rotisserie chickens or, for Costco specifically, their hot dog and soda combo.

During yesterday's earnings call, Costco senior vice president of finance and investor relations Bob Nelson specifically spoke about their famed food court deal. "I want to address some incorrect information floating around on social media and a few other media outlets claiming that we have increased the price of our $1.50 hot dog and soda combinations," he said. "Let me just say the price when we introduced the hot dog/soda combo in the mid-'80s was $1.50. The price today is $1.50, and we have no plans to increase the price at this time."

Costco's equally famous $5 rotisserie chicken deal wasn't specifically mentioned. But similar deals have been on the minds of other grocery chains. Just last week, during his company's earnings call, BJ's Wholesale Club CEO Bob Eddy twice mentioned the importance of their birds — which are priced at $4.99, just like Costco's. "The rotisserie chicken is probably the headline example where we haven't moved off the price, given double-digit inflation in that particular item, just because it's such a meaningful thing to our members," he emphasized.

Other chains agree. CNN Business recently cited a range of stores who have kept the pricing steady on their rotisserie chickens including Sam's Club, Meijer, and Publix. Giant Eagle, which hasn't changed the price of their $6.99 birds, explained why. "Our rotisserie chicken is a very popular center of the plate item," Dan Donovan, a company spokesperson, was quoted as saying. "We believe it's important to maintain a strong overall value for this item."

Interestingly, as CNN points out, another factor is likely at play here: The success of these deals can also make them harder to change because customers will more easily notice and react. Consider something like Subway's $5 Footlong campaign which proved to be so iconic, the company struggled to get away from it. Or Arizona Iced Tea which has made "99 cents" part of its brand identity.

It's no wonder a brand like Costco wants to dispel rumors that they've changed the price of their $1.50 food court deal. Yes, the financial hits of inflation are bad, but the reputation-related repercussions of losing one of your signature specials aren't great either.

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