In terms of brands that people love, Costco is definitely towards the top. From the cheap gas to the unbelievable deals on wine (Costco is the world’s biggest wine retailer) to the smorgasbord of free samples, Costco is a tribute to capitalism in every way. It’s the stuff that mid-60s Soviet leaders had nightmares about.
I’ve already covered the 6 Costco products that are better than name-brand, but that list doesn’t even mention what is perhaps Costco’s best product (because there’s not really a name-brand comparison). That product, my friends, is rotisserie chicken. You’ll find them at the back of the store, so you’ll have time to walk through all of the other aisles to buy more expensive things that you may not need. 400 AA batteries? Sure. A foam boogie board? Well, honey, we are going to the beach this summer…
When you get to the heated metal racks by the meat/deli/produce section, you’ll find the Costco Holy Grail: whole rotisserie birds for only $5. I asked my girlfriend how many of them she thought Costco sold a year and she guessed somewhere in the low millions. She was wayyyyy off.
The real answer comes to us from a Seattle Times story about Costco’s most recent earnings call. An analyst from Barclays asked Costco CFO Richard Galanti about his philosophy on the chicken prices considering an outbreak of avian flu could dramatically drive up the prices for raw chicken. Galanti responded that Costco has always sold the chickens for $5 even when competitors were raising the prices and he thinks the company will keep on selling those cluckers for five bucks (pun intended), even though a modest $1 increase would give the company an incredible amount of extra income.
So how many $5 chickens does Costco really sell? According to the 2014 figures cited in the Seattle Times story, the warehouse retailer sold 76 MILLION CHICKENS last year. Mind = blown. If they had tacked on that extra dollar, that would have been $76,000,000 in gross revenue. Costco, though, isn’t interested in making chicken scratch. They’d rather keep those pollo prices low and get you in the door to buy those boogie boards instead.
76 million chickens for a Lincoln? That’s definitely something to crow about.