The third largest shoe company in the United States has an eye for trends, and now, it's taking that talent in a different direction.
Skechers (SKX) -), which is the third-largest shoe company in the U.S. by revenue, knows that Americans like two things: comfortable footwear and a nice, cheap, steaming hot dog.
There aren't a lot of things we can agree on these days, but Costco (COST) -) knows that nothing brings all 331 million of us together like a $1.50 meal combo.
It's a part of their brand, and it keeps members — who pay $60 per year just for the pleasure of shopping at the warehouse — coming back.
Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal knows this. So when he was handing over the helm to current CEO Craig Jelinek, he warned him of the ramifications of messing with a good thing.
"If you raise the effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out," Sinegal warned Jelinek in 2009. Now, after 10 years, several recessions, a pandemic, and record-high food prices, that hot dog is still going strong at $1.50.
It's a Cinderella story to be passed on for generations, and at this point, it's a part of our American DNA.
Skechers tries its hand (and feet) as a restaurateur
Of course, not everyone belongs to Costco for the food court, but a significant portion enjoys the benefits. It sells an average of 151 million hot dogs a year, more than each MLB stadium combined. Those are mind-boggling numbers, so it's easy to understand why others might want to get in on the action.
So Skechers, yes — the shoe brand — has introduced a nod to the beloved food court with its own Food Spot, located within its Gardena, Calif. store location.
Nowhere does it actually say it's affiliated — or even based on — the Costco food court, but customers say it looks pretty similar upon close examination.
Had lunch at Skechers Food Spot a unique food court that looks just like Costco food court in Gardena, CA. Great food at affordable prices. Good burger! 👟🍔🌭🍕 pic.twitter.com/7bMI8Dq6af— Attractions 360° (@SoCal360) July 11, 2023
Skechers recently opened a restaurant at their store in Gardena called the Food Spot & it's BOOMIN pic.twitter.com/GG8BfjRYwT— SBRBN (@Sbrbnla) September 18, 2023
The Food Spot opened in May and features some beloved and familiar specials, like hot dog combos and large slices of pizza at very reasonable (albeit slightly pricier than Costco) price points.
And business has been good. Skechers co-founder Michael Greenberg estimates they serve about 2,000 patrons per week, and the reception to the in-store concept has been resounding.
"I think it just took everybody by surprise," Greenberg told local station KTLA. "I think in the beginning, there were people that were scratching their head saying, 'What is Michael doing?' And I could understand, you know, but this was my vision."
The Skechers Food Spot has a 4.2 star rating on Yelp and 4.3 stars on Google. Reviewers have drawn comparisons between Costco the Gardena store location, even if the prices aren't quite the same.
"The Hot Dog for example is $2.50 without a drink. Still a good deal. A drink is $1.00. As many may know, Costco doesn't make money on its food court. They consider it a service to its members," one Yelp user wrote.
A Google reviewer, on the other hand, seems to be taking the term loyalty to heart.
"I've been here 4 times in 4 days," they wrote, ranking the food 5/5 and the atmosphere a 4/5.
With fan dedication like that, it's easy to understand why Sinegal took his Costco food court so seriously.