Costco is cracking down on who can eat at its popular food court

Costco cracking down on membership sharing

Costco cracking down on membership sharing


Wholesale store Costco is taking action to ensure that only paying members get to enjoy its popular $1.50 hot dog and soda combo deal, available at its food courts. 

Images of signs posted on Reddit, the social media platform that recently went public, suggest the discount shopping club is cracking down on interlopers. While Costco officially restricted food court access to members in 2020, the newly posted signs detailing store policy suggest tougher enforcement is needed.

“Effective April 8, 2024, an active Costco membership card will be required to purchase items from our food court. You can join today. Please see our membership counter for details,” reads one sign, seen at a Costco store in Orlando, Florida. 

The move is the latest effort made by the wholesaler to enforce its membership requirements, so that people who wish to shop at the store actually pay up for the privilege. In January, Costco started rolling out new technology, requiring members to scan their cards at some store entrances, in an effort to crack down on membership sharing and nonmember walk-ins. 

Presumably, the more restrictive stance is designed to entice more people to purchase memberships and in turn boost Costco’s bottom line. Membership fees accounted for $4.6 billion, or 73% of Costco’s total profit in 2023.

Costco will be checking membership cards in its food courts. 


Costco did not immediately respond to CBS MoneyWatch’s request for comment on its existing policies and whether or not those rules are formally changing.

A basic membership costs $60 annually, while the executive membership, which has perks like a 2% cash-back reward, is $120 per year.

Costco explained how it feels about non-members getting access to perks reserved for members.

“We don’t feel it’s right that non-members receive the same benefits and pricing as our members,” Costco said over the summer, when it started asking for members’ photo IDs along with their membership cards at self-checkout registers.

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