Costco Will Begin To Check Memberships In All Of Their Food Courts

Costco is a truly wondrous place — and perhaps the most wondrous part of all is the Costco food court, which boasts truly amazing deals, foremost of which is their legendary $1.50 hot dog and soda combination. I know in my family, the absolute highlight of any discount warehouse trip is stopping at the food court afterward in order to grab a totally affordable since of pizza or cup or ice cream.

The food court has always been for paying members only — anyone who shops at Costco requires a membership, which ranges from $60 to $120 in price, depending on the type of card you have. But up until now, you’ve only had to show your card at the door, not at the food court register. While some food courts are located inside the store, others are located in an attached building or even totally outside.

A few days ago, a watchful Redditor snapped a picture they saw in an Orlando, Florida Costco, which warned that the days of chicken bakes are over for non-members.

“Effective April 8 2024, an active Costco membership card will be required to purchase items from our food court,” the sign reads. “You can join today. Please see our membership counter for details.”

Down in the comments, members from around the country chimed in on the new policy. Many shared that food courts located outside in warmer climates have been requiring membership cards for years — likely because they are so easy to access by non-members. Others noted that their local Costco cracked down in 2020 and have been checking food court memberships since the pandemic. So, it seems like this policy change will just get all food courts on the same page.

And the policy makes sense. Costco famously loses money on several of their food court deals, which they make up for on membership and other areas. The hot dogs are an incentive to join, and if anyone can have one, it’s not really a perk, is it?

All of this might also be linked to the brand’s new CEO, who has also been getting more strict with memberships in other areas. A woman was allegedly banned last year for shopping without a card, and many locations have started scanning cards at the door instead of just doing a visual check.

In any case: if you just travel to Costco for the dollar hot dogs and the warm chocolate cookies as big as your head, you have until April 8 to eat your fill… or fill out a membership form.

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