Costco Implements Stricter Policy for Food Court Access Amid Membership Enforcement Efforts

by Nick

Costco has announced stricter enforcement of its policy restricting non-members from accessing its food courts, effective April 8, 2024. While this rule has long been in place, some locations had previously been lenient in its implementation.

Renowned for its popular $1.50 hot-dog-and-soda combo, Costco’s food court has been a draw for both members and non-members alike. However, in a recent development, the retail giant is now requiring an active Costco membership card for food court purchases.


A Reddit user shared a photo of a sign outside a Costco location in Orlando, indicating the new policy. Subsequent inquiries by Business Insider confirmed that several Costco locations across the US have been directed to enforce membership checks at their food courts.


According to a Costco employee from a Chicago store, the company has been gradually tightening enforcement, with members receiving notices since December and signs posted outside the establishments. Business Insider reached out to Costco for comment but has yet to receive a response.


While Costco has always maintained a members-only policy for accessing its warehouses, allowing food court access to non-members has been a common practice at certain locations, particularly those with outdoor food courts or kiosks.


This latest measure aligns with Costco’s broader strategy to crack down on non-member access. In recent years, customers have increasingly been asked to present photo ID along with their membership card at checkout to prevent card sharing.

Membership fees constitute a significant portion of Costco’s profits, amounting to approximately $4.6 billion in 2023, representing 72% of the company’s total profits. By enforcing membership requirements more rigorously, Costco aims to safeguard these profits while also mitigating losses due to unauthorized access and shoplifting incidents, a challenge faced by many other retailers.


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