Costco sales are strong and the company’s stock prices are soaring. This successful retail giant was founded 42 years ago. Today, there are 770 retail outlets. The chain’s food courts are very popular. Read on to get the inside scoop on 10 Costco food court secrets only employees know about.
10. Each Full Cheese Pizza Features Over A Pound Of Cheese
Cheese lovers should know that each full cheese pizza from Costco contains over a pound of cheese. The cheese blend used on Costco food court pizzas is a combination of part-skim, low-fat mozzarella and Parmesan. Mozzarella makes up 80 percent of the cheese blend, while Parmesan makes up 20 percent. While the cheese content is high, you’ll be pleased to know that food court pizzas from Costco don’t contain hydrogenated oils, lard or trans fats. Also, you’ll be happy to know that Costco utilizes genuine cheeses that are fresh. They don’t use processed or powdered cheeses. The pizza-making process at Costco is very organized and consistent. Cheese, toppings and sauce are carefully measured, so that pizzas taste the same every time. Part of the pizza-making process is automated. For example, a robotic machine adds sauce to each pizza while the pizza pie spins around on a platform, sort of like an album turning on a record player. Costco has worked out an efficient system for producing these addictive and ultra-cheesy pizzas. Each pizza is prepped for cooking in only sixty seconds. The pizzas are fully-cooked in just 6 minutes. If you’re into inhaling Costco pizza slices while you’re taking breaks from scoring deals at Costco retail outlets, you’ll also appreciate the fact that Costco gets rid of unsold pizza slices after one hour. Costco management wants customers to enjoy fresh slices every single time. With all of this attention to detail, it’s no wonder Costco food court pizzas are so popular. Costco is currently ranked as the fourteenth-largest pizza chain in America.
9. The Food Court Isn’t Meant To Be A Money Maker
Costco keeps food court prices very low because they want their customers to enjoy the whole Costco experience…and keep coming back. People love visiting Costco food courts during their Costco shopping trips, in part because the food and drink offered is just so affordable. For example, each hearty and filling pizza slice is priced at just $1.99. The food court isn’t meant to be a huge money-maker for Costco. It’s meant to show customers that Costco cares about them. The cheap eats offered at Costco food courts definitely create a lot of goodwill. Customers look forward to getting their budget-priced hot dogs, pizza slices, chicken bakes and other Costco food court classics. Costco food courts operate on the same principle as IKEA food courts. Food at both food courts is reasonably-priced. Affordable food is provided in order to keep customers in the stores, shopping away. Costco makes the bulk of its profits from in-store sales, just like IKEA does. Mega-chain food courts have a lot of appeal, because they do offer superb deals to customers. It’s safe to say that many people drop by these food courts, even when they don’t plan on shopping. They come just for the food. Of course, they may decide to pick up a few things while they’re there. Food courts like the Costco food court drive business. They help to win and retain customer loyalty. The truth is that certain menu items at the Costco food court, including hot dogs, actually cost Costco cold, hard cash. The company loses money on hot dogs, but doesn’t mind, because customers who order hot dogs may buy lots of stuff in the warehouse.
8. The BBQ Brisket Sandwich Has A Cult Following
Pizza slices and hot dogs may be the first things that people think of when they hear the words, “Costco Food Court”, but there is another food court menu item that gets rave reviews, even though it’s not quite as famous. This menu item is the BBQ Brisket Sandwich. It’s so beloved by a certain segment of Costco fans that it’s earned a cult following. Many people believe it’s the most delectable item on the Costco food court menu. It comes wrapped in a cardboard circle, it costs just $4.99 and it offers superior taste for a budget price. While it’s technically the priciest “individual serving” Costco food court menu item, it’s not really so costly, is it? It’s a very substantial sandwich, which is filled with tender beef that’s flavored with a smoky-sweet BBQ sauce. The sandwich also features a big, soft bun. Inside the bun, you’ll find beef brisket that’s layered with coleslaw. The coleslaw adds a bit of zesty, fresh crunch. When you gorge on this exceptional sandwich, you’re likely to make a mess, but it’ll be worth it. A lot of people are astonished that they can get such a delicious sandwich at a budget food court. This juicy and tender beef brisket sandwich is well worth a try. The quality of the meat is great, the sauce is tasty and the coleslaw offers the perfect finishing touch. Plus, this is a filling sandwich. It offers plenty of bang for the buck. Most Costco food courts carry this menu item, but some may not. Hopefully, this popular sandwich is offered at your local Costco food court.
7. You May Not Need A Costco Membership To Eat There
If you visit a Costco with an outdoor food court, you won’t need a membership to get your hands on cheap, filling and yummy Costco grub. If the food court is inside, you probably will need a membership. The outdoor food courts are there for all consumers, whether they have Costco memberships or not. Usually, Costco retail outlets without outdoor food courts are located in places with warmer climates. Inside of Costco, people are generally asked to provide proof of membership before enjoying all that these retail outlets have to offer, including the indoor food courts. The cost of the most basic membership at Costco is 60 bucks, so it doesn’t cost a fortune to join. If you buy a membership, you’ll have no trouble getting your hands on Costco food court food and drink, and you’ll also be able to score wholesale-priced deals on a ton of products, from groceries to electronics and beyond. If you don’t feel like buying your own membership, you should know that you may enter Costco as a member’s guest. However, the member will need to pay for your purchases inside of the warehouse. It’s also possible to get in Costco with Costco Cash Cards, but only members can buy these cards, so you’ll need to ask a member to purchase a Costco Cash Card for you.
6. Hot Dog Sales Are Through The Roof
Costco serves about one hundred million food court hot dogs each year. Costco actually started out serving nothing but hot dogs at its retail outlets. There were hot dog carts onsite, rather than the larger food kiosks that we see now. The whole hot dog cart thing was tested out in San Diego during the mid-80s and it was a big hit with Costco customers. Costco keeps the price of their hot dogs low to offer perks to members. Costco leaders want Costco’s membership to feel special. Offering cheap hot dogs helps customers to feel rewarded. Costco hot dogs are sold for $1.50 and come with a 20-ounce soda. A free soda refill is available. Few would dispute that this is a great deal. Even Costco employees appreciate the hot dog deal and many enjoy hot dog and soda combos regularly. While some fast food menu items shrink in size over the years, this isn’t the case with the hot dog deal. The hot dog is actually ten percent bigger that it used to be. The drink is eight ounces bigger, too. Clearly, the powers-that-be at Costco understand that hot dogs are a powerful marketing tool. They aren’t going to mess with success by jacking up the price of their hot dog and soda combo. Maybe they’ll need to raise the price of the combo someday, but that probably won’t happen anytime soon. Costco is doing very well and can afford to lose some money on its hot dogs.
5. There Are No Employee Discounts
Most Costco employees love eating at Costco food courts, but they don’t get employee discounts on hot dogs, pizza slices and other Costco food court fare. They have to pay full retail like everyone else. Of course, the food is really affordable. Plenty of employees have commented on the fact that the food court is a really convenient perk. It’s there for employees when they get hungry or thirsty. The food is cheap and filling and easy to access. Sure, Costco employees would probably love to get discounts on food court stuff, but most are grateful for the affordability of the food, even though they have to pay full price. Employees do get other perks, including four free memberships and extra pay on Sundays. Overall, Costco is considered a great place to work, thanks to competitive benefits packages and access to an employee stock purchase plan. So, which food court menu items do Costco employees love the most? Well, the pizza slices are a huge hit with staff. The hot dog and soda deal is also really popular. While some employees do get sick of the food sometimes, they tend to get less sick of the pizza and hot dogs. The churros also get glowing accolades from Costco workers.
4. Menu Items Vary From Nation To Nation
In Canada, it’s possible to enjoy poutine at Costco food courts. In case you don’t know, poutine is a pile of French Fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. Yes, it’s as delicious as it sounds. Menus at Costco food courts vary from nation to nation. There are Costco retail outlets in America, Canada, the UK, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Iceland, France, Spain and Australia. Menus change from time to time, but expect to find lasagna at Mexican Costco food courts, mango smoothies in Iceland and shepherd’s pie in Wales. Some people have been to Costco food courts in a range of countries and they love comparing the international menus to menus in their own countries. Menus get adjusted to suit the tastes of residents of specific regions. This doesn’t just happen at Costco food courts. It happens at McDonald’s, KFC and a bunch of other fast food restaurants. It’s always fun to learn about international menus. Costco food courts in other countries may not be radically different from what you’re used to, but there will be small changes to the menus which are interesting and novel. One fun fact is that a Costco membership will work in any country. If you travel outside of your home country, just show a Costco clerk your card and explain that it’s international. There will be a code that the clerk enters that makes your card valid in that country. You will have no problem sampling international food court items, no matter where you roam, as long as you have a Costco membership.
3. Some Menu Items Aren’t Too Healthy
Most of us don’t expect huge, cheesy slices of pizza or hot dogs to be super-healthy. When we order fast food, we realize that we’re indulging in food that tends to come with a lot of calories, fat grams and sodium. So, it’s shouldn’t be a huge shocker that some Costco food court menu items aren’t the healthiest. Still, it’s good to be aware of the calorie counts in popular items sold at these food courts. The pepperoni pizza has 620 calories a slice. Each slice has 24 fat grams. If you go for the combo pizza slice, you’ll get a piece of pizza with 680 calories and 29 fat grams. The cheese pizza has a whopping calorie count of 700 calories a slice, with 28 fat grams. The hot dogs have 550 calories and 34 fat grams. If you indulge, balance things out by having some light meals after you leave Costco. The high calorie counts in some Costco menu items sure don’t stop people from ordering them. These food courts do a roaring trade.
2. The Chicken Bakes Are Freshly Made
Ever tried a Chicken Bake from Costco food court? Whether you have or haven’t, you’ll be pleased to know that these menu items are made fresh and this is part of the reason why they are so delicious. For the uninitiated, a Costco food court Chicken Bake is similar to a calzone. It’s made from pizza dough that is filled with pizza cheese, chicken breast, Caesar salad dressing and bacon bits. Pizza dough used in Costco food court items is exceptional. Before the dough is pressed, it rests for a full day or as long as 27 hours. When the dough is baked, it attains the perfect degree of chewiness. Some people ask for extra Caesar sauce on the side and then use it as a dip. This menu hack is purported to amp up the deliciousness of this classic Costco food court menu item. Of course, it will also bump up the calorie count. While it’s possible to pick up frozen Kirkland Signature Chicken Bakes in Costco to enjoy at home, most people find that the food court version is yummier, because Chicken Bakes form the food court are made fresh each day. If you’re trying to keep your sodium intake low, this tasty item may not be the right choice, because it has more than a daily supply of sodium.
1. Some Beloved Items Have Been Taken Off The Menu
Lots of fast food outlets change their menus sometimes and then get complaints. It’s quite common for people to miss older menu items that have been discontinued. This has happened with the Costco food court menu. Ice cream bars were taken off the menu and some people were just sad. Apparently, the cost of producing the luscious bars was simply too high. Although Costco runs the food courts more as a gesture of goodwill to members, and in order to make life more pleasant for Costco members, they do need to consider the bottom line sometimes. The Polish Sausage was also taken off the menu, because it wasn’t really the healthiest choice. Of course, many people miss the Polish sausage. The Polish hot dog had plenty of flavor, but got pushed aside to make room for healthy menu items that many people probably don’t really want. McDonald’s added healthier stuff, like salads, but they don’t sell well. Costco did the same thing, but, judging by what most people are eating at Costco food courts, the higher calorie fare is still the most popular by far. It’s nice that the healthy stuff is there for those who want it, but it usually isn’t what people crave.