Costco food court: Membership Required for $1.50 Hot Dog

Costco food court: Membership Required for $1.50 Hot Dogs
Costco food court: Many are aware that April 8 marks the day of a total solar eclipse. But for some food enthusiasts, it could also signal the end of a cherished privilege: dining at Costco’s food court.

Costco’s food courts, known for their $1.99 pizza slices and $1.50 hot dog and drink combos, have been popular among both members and non-members. While a membership, starting at $60 annually, is required to shop at Costco, non-members have historically been able to enjoy meals at the food court.

However, there are signs indicating that this leniency may be coming to an end. Earlier this month, a Reddit user shared a photo of a sign from a Costco in Orlando, Florida.

The sign stated, “Starting April 8, 2024, you’ll need an active Costco membership card to buy items from our food court. If you’re not a member yet, you can sign up today. Visit our membership counter for more information.”

Similar signs have been reported at other locations, although there doesn’t seem to be a uniform policy, according to The Street.

Costco has not responded immediately to inquiries about the food court situation.

This isn’t the first time Costco has attempted to discourage non-members from dining at the food court. Similar signs were reported by shoppers back in February 2020, just before the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Costco has also begun enforcing membership requirements for entry into its stores. Last year, the retailer began routinely asking for shoppers’ membership IDs with their photo at self-checkout lanes to prevent non-members from using shared memberships.

“Last year, Costco conveyed to USA TODAY that they believe it’s unfair for non-members to enjoy the same benefits and pricing as their members. They emphasized that Costco maintains low prices by using membership fees to cover operational expenses, underscoring the importance of their membership fee and structure.”

All these measures are aimed at encouraging shoppers to obtain their own memberships.

In 2023, Costco reported revenue of $237.7 billion and generated $4.6 billion in membership fees from nearly 128 million members, up 8% from 2022. The company also reported a 90% membership renewal rate for 2023.

In addition to the $60 Gold Star memberships, Costco offers Executive memberships for $120 annually, providing additional benefits such as discounts on gas, travel, and insurance.

While some Reddit users believe that memberships have always been required to eat in the food court, others reminisce about the days when non-members could enjoy the $1.50 hot dogs and other affordable options.

Despite potential changes, Costco has maintained the $1.50 price tag on its hot dog combo. Two years ago, Costco’s CFO Richard Galanti assured investors that the price would remain unchanged, emphasizing Costco’s commitment to offering value to its customers.

Former Costco CEO Craig Jelinek recounted a conversation with co-founder Jim Sinegal, who insisted on maintaining the $1.50 price despite concerns about profitability. Costco even built its own hot dog manufacturing plant to keep costs low and ensure a fair return.

So, while changes may be on the horizon for Costco’s food court policies, the $1.50 hot dog combo seems destined to remain a staple of the Costco experience.

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