I don’t understand all the Costco Hot Dog newsmaking (and yet, I do, sadly).
They aren’t losing money on $1.50. Hot dogs in bulk are under $0.50/each. Probably under $0.40 to Costco. Soda? Maybe $0.20, including the cup… and the straw.
They’re making two times margin, instead of the usual four times margins on an item that requires you usually to have a membership, and walk a quarter mile to obtain from the parking lot. So the people buying them, are people already being profitable members, who already are making more profits purchasing stuff. Costco doesn’t have any loss leaders. Even if you use a membership to its fullest of perks, save for return fraud/abuse, you’re making them a lot of money.
The only exception are locations where the food court is outside… but who cares. Certainly not the blog writers who have an article quota, and a deadline, and a sympathetic PR contact offering them a free VIP press pass to CostcoWorld (that’s not a thing… yet).
Bottom line, it’s not a loss leader. This is just Costco PR making no news into good news, for them.