Eating at the Costco food court will now require a membership


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The food court at Costco has long been a destination for bargain lovers, whether for the hefty slices of $1.99 pizza, $1 churros, or the famed inflation-proof hot dog and soda combo that has remained $1.50 for the past 35 years.

Since the warehouse chain began selling hot dogs in 1984, anyone could partake in the store’s fast-food deals — with or without a Costco annual membership. That’s about to change.

Beginning mid-March, the retailer will require an active membership (currently $60) to order at its food courts, according to multiple media outlets.

Photos posted to Instagram, including one by @CostcoDeals that garnered more than 10,000 likes, show signs in front of Costco warning shoppers of the upcoming change. During a visit on Tuesday to the big-box club’s Hawthorne location, an employee confirmed that the membership requirement would be enforced starting on March 16, though no signs were posted in the food court area.

According to a Fox Business story, a customer service representative for Costco said that such a policy had technically already been in place, though it was “hard to enforce” because many food courts are located outside.

A Costco corporate spokesperson declined to confirm that the policy already existed or when it would be implemented.

News of the new membership rule has been met with strong reactions on social media.

“Costco requiring an active membership to buy food from their food court is classist,” wrote Twitter user @ehmawi.

Instagram user @badabing_raidernation added: “Understandable but also sucks for those that only use Costco for that reason [,] when I was homeless I was able to eat in the food court for under $5.”

Other commenters embraced the change, noting that the subsidized prices on menu items were intended to benefit members and that the new policy would lead to shorter lines.

“No more random non-members in our Costcos!” wrote Instagram user @bigmik2.

The change will not affect Costco’s policy allowing non-members to purchase alcohol in its stores or use its pharmacy, which are mandated by state and federal law.