Costco food court raises chicken bake and drink prices amid inflation

Soaring food prices, driven by sky-high inflation rates, have hit a bastion of bargain that many thought was invincible to price hikes: the Costco food court.

Starting this week, Costco’s Chicken Bake is $3.99, up $1, and the 20-ounce soft drink is 59 cents, up 10 cents, The Times confirmed at multiple stores across the county. from Los Angeles.

“I was surprised, because they never do raises on items,” said Georgina Gomez, a Costco restaurant worker on Los Feliz Boulevard who has worked at the mega-store chain for 25 years. “Once they’re out, that’s usually the price they keep.”

The price increases are part of a nationwide update, Business Insider reported.

Grocery store prices have risen more than 10% in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area over the past year. Costco is no exception, with price increases on items such as croissants, muffins, Wagyu New York steaks and Kirkland brand water bottles.

Gomez said she has yet to hear customer feedback on new prices for a soft drink and chicken bake, a cheese-crusted bun stuffed with chicken breast, bacon and Caesar dressing. .

Most customers, she said, referred to the food court’s most popular items: the $1.99 slice of pizza and the famous $1.50 hot dog and soda combo. , which remain unaffected by inflation. Last year, Costco sold 122 million combos.

This year there were debunked rumors that the price of the hot dog combo, which has remained constant since 1985, would increase by $1. The chain has gone so far as to drop the Hebrew national dogs and build its own hot dog manufacturing facilities to keep prices down, according to a report by MarketWatch.

Store founder James Sinegal once vehemently defended the price, telling current chief executive Craig Jelinek, “I’ll kill you,” if Jelinek raises the figure, 425Business reported in 2018.

Despite recent price increases for some items at the Costco food court, Gomez noted, it’s still more affordable than most other restaurants.

Even so, U.S. consumers continue to be hurt by what the Labor Department said last month was an 8.6% price increase, a 40-year high.

Shoppers cut their grocery budgets, low-wage workers paid their wages on high gas costs for commuting, and small businesses, including taquero street vendors, faced rising costs. meat prices by raising prices.

Los Angeles Times

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