Your Membership Card Will Now Be Required on Your Next Costco Food Court Visit

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sign in Costco food court

Get ready to show your membership card at the Costco food court! 🌭🥤

Ever since Costco began selling food back in 1984, anyone could walk in and eat at the food court, with or without an annual membership. Although the price of the club’s famed hot dog and soda combination hasn’t changed since then (still just $1.50), you are now going to need a membership to buy it – for the first time in its over 35-year history!


All Beef 1/4-lb Hot Dog and 20oz Soda

Beginning this month, Costco will require an active membership (starting at $60) to order from its food court. Although one employee told us that’s always been the case, the company now plans to enforce this policy nationwide.

The exact start date of this policy change may vary by store, but signage in select warehouses has the date listed as March 16, 2020. This change is expected to take effect at all Costco locations at some point this month.


Not a member? Consider snagging a Costco membership today!

(Thanks, Benjamin!)

Join The Discussion

Comments 35

  1. Carling

    Bummer. My son always goes over and gets a snack while I am in line.

    • dblD amber

      I was thinking the same exact thing.

      • Savvy Mom

        If you use the app, then you can checkout with your digital card on it and your kids can take your card.

        • dylanfan

          They will verify it’s the member that is on the card is what our stores said.

        • Celenorma

          Thanks for that tip!

        • Cali

          Can you just buy the gift card, and have your son use that to buy food?

  2. Court

    That stinks

  3. ShellyShel

    This doesn’t bother me since I’ve owned a membership for years & it simply, just makes sense too! More room at the tables for actual members 👌

    • Lynne

      I totally agree. Can never get a seat and I know for sure the majority are not members. Most of my neighbors go just for the bargain lunches and don’t pay for membership.

  4. calidel

    I think it’s good and bad. In the end though I’m sure Costco will see the huge sales they lost in a year and will then revert back to just selling to everyone. Just saying…

    • jen

      I think they are enforcing it because they lose money with how cheap the food is. No price in crease in 30+ years. They want people to buy products when they come in to eat and you cant do that without a membership.

      • Laureney

        Exactly. It’s a loss for them with the $1.50 hot dog and soda deal. They had an article about it in Costco Connected awhile back.

    • Lexy

      Costco doesn’t rely on their food court profit that’s why it’s so cheap. I saw a video about it

  5. Go Zags

    I have a Costco card so it doesn’t effect me but I think it is a bummer. Also doesn’t effect me since I rarely go to the food court anymore. The Polish Dog was my fave and they did away with that. Last time I was at Costco I picked up a smoothie from the food court. Only had paper straws. That is a joke for use with the smoothie. Never again.

    • Celenorma

      OMG yes! I feel ya. Those straws are horrible! And RIP polish sausage, my fave!

    • JHawks

      I LOVE their paper straws!! We easily drank our smoothies within two hours and the straws worked great!!

      • Di Di

        It should NOT take 2 hours to drink a smoothie! IMHO.

  6. lezers05

    I am actually SO glad they are doing this. Our Costco is by a high school and they have an open campus for lunch. They always seem to go to Costco food court and it’s a joke trying to get through them. They are so rude to the actual customers and workers. And lately they have been kicked out for such terrible language and yelling at each other. I am sure this will help with the issue. Now if the food court would only bring back the polish dog…

    • jessie

      Ok that makes sense. I was thinking who in their right mind is going to Costco and try to get a parking spot only get food and then leave said parking spot and try not to hit someone and then just go to get food to burp later. LOL!!

      • coupongirl1210

        Lol, I was wondering too who would think to go into Costco just for the food court!

      • Cali

        I always see people hop out of a car that is in the gasoline line. By the time the car gets to the pump, the people come back from the food court loaded up with food.

    • Lexy

      Good for you

  7. Lisa JP

    Our Costco’s started this about six months ago. I haven’t noticed the food court being any less busy. They do actually verify you are the member on the card, so you can’t send your kids without you.

  8. Bethany

    I assume sams club and BJs will soon follow suit

    • J.H.509

      Our local Sam’s club started “carding” last year. They won’t even let you through the doors without seeing your membership. I feel if you want to eat there you should have a membership

  9. jen

    I wonder if I order from the kiosk, if I’ll have to swipe the card like at the gas station or they’ll ask to see it once I go pickup the order?

  10. agh925

    I didn’t know it was even an option to go without a membership card! That’s funny.

  11. todd

    Good….that’s the way it should be. That’s what he pay for, member only exclusives like the food court.

  12. Jackie

    Ours has had this policy for a couple of years now (though we don’t have to show the card in the food court, just at the door to get in any entrance) You used to be able to go through the exit/returns door and just go to the food court, not in the main store, and visit the food court without membership cards. However, they were inundated with high school kids who walked over at lunchtime, so they started the membership requirement. As I recall, right before they started it, there were lots of opened packages and a lot of theft from the store since no one was checking memberships as you were wandering around, just at the door and at checkout. Perhaps this is why too.

  13. Nicole c

    That sucks ☹️ my Costco has a separate food court so it’s not helping them with purchases because it’s in a separate building completely most of the money they make are probably from outside people

  14. Karen

    Off topic but I wish Costco would bring back the pretzels in the food court. They were sooooo good!

  15. Lexy

    Well good thing I just activated my Costco account thanks to Hip2Save & Groupon – the only reason I opened an account was because I wanted to buy the tiramisu by the time I actually went in store to activate it -it was gone🤨

    • kidsallgone

      You can cancel your membership for any reason and get a refund.

  16. 3boys

    This is mostly FALSE!
    A *few* stores have had this policy in place, some other ones are implementing it… our Minnesota StarTribune investigated:
    http://www.startribune.com/costco-nonmembers-can-still-use-food-courts-contrary-to-recent-reports/568173252/
    “Costco nonmembers can still use food courts, contrary to recent reports
    Membership is also not required to buy prescriptions or alcohol at Costco or Sam’s Clubs.
    Costco’s beloved $2 pizza slice and the $1.50 hot dog with drink are back for all the nonmembers who crave them. But they were never really gone.
    Reports of Costco restricting food court access only to members surfaced a few days ago, causing an online outcry, but one Twin Cities Costco general manager said that the only clubs that won’t allow nonmembers to use the food court are in California.
    Even at those clubs, including one in San Diego, the change is a test that may not become permanent, he said.
    Technically, membership is required to purchase items at the food court, but it is not enforced. A membership card is not required to be shown or swiped for payment at the food courts.

    Nonmembers typically avoid being stopped for their membership card at the entrance by entering through the exit where cards are not checked.

    Most Costco store layouts place food courts near the exit making the food court purchases convenient.

    Nonmembers are also allowed to purchase prescriptions and alcohol at Costco, as well as similar membership retailers like Sam’s Club, because of federal or state laws.

    At Sam’s Clubs, nonmembers can tell the attendant they are only using the food court or pharmacy to be admitted to the store.

    Costco and Sam’s Club liquor stores in Minnesota have separate entrances because of Minnesota law, and do not require a membership card.

    Costco’s basic membership costs $60 annually. Sam’s Club charges $45.”

  17. Laurie Villotta

    I had a GC from Costco that I had to use. I had a list of items. Not one single thing on my list they did not carry. I love Sams club. And no we do not need to show ID at FC.

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