The Costco Food court is the most inexpensive and convenient place to grab some grub after shopping, after all their tagline is” Simplifying Home and Life”. It not only manages to bring you cheap food but it still turns a profit. Here are 10 Costco Food Court Secrets that only employees know about.
10. Costco makes its own Hot Dogs
They say that the Costco food court is not a goldmine. It only turns a small profit annually from the sales of food items because there has been relatively no price increase in the past 30 years. Since their debut in 1985, Costco has been selling their hot dog and soda combo for $1.50 and the pizza combo for only $1.99. Meanwhile, hot dogs are 10% bigger and the sodas have also increased in size, with free refills to boot. A fantastic deal, you could say! No one offers you something like that these days. How do they do it? Aside from Costco selling over 100 million hot dogs a year, which is four times more than what is sold at any ballpark in a season, the low price is one of the reasons it’s so popular and Costco banks on this fact. Did you know that the chain does everything in their power to keep the prices down? In 2013, they switched to selling Pepsi products after Coca-Cola increased their prices, and in 2009, they switched from Hebrew National to making their own Kirkland Signature Brand hot dogs in order to avoid raising prices as well. Employees beg to differ when it comes to saying Costco does not make a profit, however small, with 128 million hot dogs sold each year, it equals a whopping $192 million dollars in revenue. Plus all those happy shoppers are roaming around the store after a cheap lunch and buying plenty of other things that the company will make money on.
9. Largest Pizza Chain
Costco is known for many great things, but one would never guess that it is also known for being a top pizza chain. With about 400 locations situated in the U.S. alone, and only a few of those actually selling pizza, it is ranked the 14th largest pizza chain in America. It is also one of the cheapest among all the pizza other chains, at a cost of $1.99 per slice or a full pizza for $9.99. It’s been reported that Costco compared to Pizza Hut or Domino’s, has some pretty impressive statistics for a warehouse store. They may lack in option and variations, but Costco food court pizzas are available in three of the most popular options. Plain pizza which comes topped with 1 lb. of mixed mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, pepperoni, and a combination topped with vegetables. You have the option of purchasing a slice or a whole pizza which measures 16 inches in diameter. The pizzas are great for the price point value, they claim to be perfectly cooked, with loads of cheese and a crispy crust. Costco works hard to make sure their pizza is practically perfect every time.
8. Order Ahead / Take-out
Here are a few more secrets and tips that you may not know about when ordering Pizza at the Costco food court. As one of the largest Pizza chains, they also have some of the same services as other pizza franchises. Did you know you can call in your order ahead of time? You can’t order online as of yet, but you can pick up at the food court whether or not you’re shopping there. Costco prefers the latter, as the food court is a perk for those with memberships, but they will allow non-members too. But please don’t call during peak times. Unfortunately, the drawback is that they don’t deliver, so you will have to get up off the couch and go pick it up yourself. Let’s hope the nearest Costco is not miles away. It may not be the perfect scenario for some, but it’s great if you are nearby or often shop at Costco. It’s probably cheaper than other local pizza joints, unless they are having a two for one deal. if your choice is to eat in the food court and you don’t finish your pizza, you can always ask for a take-out box and bring the rest home for later, no need to throw it away. A little bite of weird trivia, do you know exactly how many pepperoni slices are on top of a pepperoni pizza at Costco? According to the Costco Connection, all pepperoni pizza pies are topped with 60 slices of “US-made” pepperoni not one more or less, even if you ask for it.
7. Magical Mystery Robot
There’s a method to Costco madness, when it comes to making pizza. Ever wonder why the pizzas at Costco are always on point with the sauce-to-cheese ratio? It’s because they’ve got the pizza-making down to a science with a little help from a pizza robot that ensure their pizzas are perfect every time. The hypnotic pizza robot evenly distributes a delicious layer of sauce onto every pizza. The pizza robot is actually mesmerizing to watch, it’ll will put you in such a trance that it will make you crave a slice within minutes. First, they make sure that the dough has completely risen, then they press it into perfectly even shaped pies. After that they add the sauce, your favorite toppings, and freshly grated cheese, they are baked in a 600 degree oven which cooks the pizzas evenly in just 6 minutes. That makes a whole lot of pies! Pizza that isn’t sold within an hour gets replaced with another fresh one straight out the oven. Costco has streamlined their pizza process to make it as efficient and cost effective as possible and they never skimp on ingredients. Everything is measured to a standard and you will have a perfectly delicious pizza every time. And with a price of $1.99 per slice, you can’t go wrong or any cheaper than this.
6. Pay n Go
Every one loves the Food court, especially because the food is so cheap and you don’t want to miss out on another deal. But you can see that the line-ups are long and there are a couple of empty tables left at the food court. You are tired and don’t feel like standing in line waiting for food. What do you do! Going home and cooking is not an option, it’s late, you’re tired and plus you have those groceries to unpack when you get home. Think Strategically! The easiest way to skip the line at the food court, is to add it to your tab while at the cash register upon checking out? Just politely ask the cashier, then go to the express line at the food court, show your receipt, and your meal will be ready in seconds. If you are alone, you may have to rush to get a seat, but surely you can sneak in with someone at their table and at the same time also make a friend. Otherwise, get your shopping buddy to go grab a free table, while you get the food. Of course, you have to be purchasing items from the store for this hack to work, but there is always something you will need from Costco. Another way to avoid the line ups is using the digital kiosks to complete your order. If you have these machines in your local food court, you just tap in what you want, pay with a card, and head to the pick-up window.
5. Food is Fresher with Line-ups
You won’t have to wait around too long to get your food at the Costco food court, it is fast food after all. The line ups are a different story and can be incredible long at times, as well as quite discouraging, especially during peak shopping hours. One of the best things about the line ups, is you know the food is flying off the shelves quickly. Therefore your food will be freshly made. So don’t walk out the door before getting that bite to eat, either use a kiosk or pay ahead at the cash register to save some time because the outcome will outweigh the downside. If you leave, not only will you miss out on a good opportunity to pay dirt cheap prices for the same thing elsewhere, you will miss out on better quality food. As per Costco employees, the food is fresher at peak hours during lunch and supper because of the high turnover. When it gets really busy, those pizzas are flying out of the oven in no time. The food is not sitting under heat lamps drying out, even though they do switch out the pizzas every hour. But in case you come at the 1/2 hr mark, the pizza has had enough time to sit there and get very oily with all that cheese. The same goes for the hot dogs or other menu items. They whip up more hot dogs during the rush, estimating they will have more clients. They have everything ready-made and raring to go in seconds. Fast service is a highlight of the experience, andunchtime is always a safe bet”. As one Costco food court employee put it “when the lines are long, the churros are good.”
4. Employees are Big Food Court Fans
You know a place is good when employees vouch for it. Costco employees are the food courts biggest fans. They should know, they work and eat there every day, so they have some great insider tips. They know what is good, and a what is a great deal. One of the most popular food court items among store employees, is the pizza. One store employee vowed on social media that he eats there more than he should. He believes the “Pizza Crust is yummy, the toppings are of good quality” and after eating a slice of pizza, he goes for his second favorite, the pistachio gelato. Other employee prefer the pepperoni pizza, because of the crispy pepperoni and cheesy consistency. Most employees would rather eat there after work than anywhere else. They know what goes into the food and trust the quality of Costco products. Costco employees what their favorite Costco food court was and most answered that the pizza was by far the winner and the most popular, with hot dogs coming in second. Another popular food court contender with the employees was the berry smoothie at $1.50. They all thought this was a good healthy option, especially for breakfast. Most of the Costco food court employees think the items from the food court were the some of the best deals in the whole store.
3. Nutritional Information
We all know by now that most food courts don’t offer very healthy food options usually. Costco is no exception, although their in store products leave a good mark, the exact opposite can be said about the food court. If you are worried about what goes into your lean fit body and are a fanatic about daily healthy eating, you can ask for a list of nutritional information regarding items on the menu at the food court. This way you can actually gauge on what would be a healthier food alternative for you. Although one must say, the Costco food court has few choices for those healthy eaters. It does have some options, although limited, even their Caesar Chicken Salad packs lots of calories. The Acai bowls or the fruit smoothies may sound boring, but can do the trick. Don’t fret, one day of cheating won’t kill you. If you are really worried about how much damage it will do, just ask for nutritional information sheets. Employees have them readily available at the food court and keep them under the counter. They may not like you doing this on busy times, but they are available if you must have one one.
2. Rotating Menu Items
Depending on where you live and shop, the Costco food court always has an open slot on their menu board for rotating menu items. While some items on their menu are a mainstay and have been for years, every once in a while, Costco likes to change things up by adding a new dish. Of course, the menu changes are based on local tastes and are not exactly the same from region to region and in other countries. But you are always sure to find Costco’s classic 10 menu items, sometimes more. Some top favorites include the Chicken Bake, BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwiches, Acai Bowls, Chicken Caesar Salads, Berry Smoothies, Moche Latte Freeze, Ice Cream and Churros. The customer is King yet over the years many favorites have also been discontinued, like the Polish Sausage, Italian Sausage, El Pastor salad, and Pretzels, and those have been replaced with healthier staples.
1. The Secret to Chicken Bake is Caesar Dressing
Costco shoppers and employees just love the chicken bakes sold at Costco’s food court. A cross between, a calzone or pizza pocket and a chicken Caesar salad, these tender morsels are a big fan favorite. Exclusive to Costco, they are pretty addictive. The Costco chef’s secret aside from being made fresh from scratch daily, is their secret Caesar sauce. They use the same pizza dough for their pizzas, but smother the top of them with Caesar dressing instead of tomato sauce, then they add grilled and sliced chicken breasts, mozzarella, bacon, and onions. The y then roll them up, top it with some more Caesar dressing and shredded Parmesan cheese, and pop them in the ovens to get baked, not fried. The Caesar dressing gives it that salty, creamy kick that just oozes goodness. It’s the same dressing used for their Chicken Caesar salad. You can ask for a pack if you want extra sauce. Food court Chicken bakes are far more superior than the frozen in store brand, but if you want to try making them yourself, you can find the recipe online.