Costco eyeing food court bans on non-members: Reports

A Costco membership starts at $60 annually

One of the world's largest membership warehouse clubs, Costco, is reportedly on the verge of implementing a new policy that bans non-club members from dining at its eateries. However, according to a customer service representative, this is a policy that is already in place.

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FOX Business placed calls to Costco customer service Tuesday inquiring about the policy. A customer service representative said that such a policy is already in place but is "hard to enforce" because several of their food courts are located outside.

However, a Costco corporate spokesperson declined to confirm that this policy already exists or will soon be implemented.

Several published reports Tuesday suggest that starting in March, the membership-only store, otherwise known as an oasis for shoppers looking to buy in bulk, will make sure anyone purchasing from the food courts have a paid membership.

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A Costco membership starts at $60 annually for Gold Star Member and goes up in price from there. Consumers can also opt for the Gold Star Executive membership, which offers an annual 2 percent reward on eligible Costco and Costco travel purchases as well as extra benefits on select Costco services, for $120 annually.

The news erupted across social media last week after the Instagram account @CostcoDeal posted a sign reportedly inside one of the retailer's locations that reads: "Effective March 16, 2020, 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."

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ABC's San Diego affiliate, 10News (KGTV), confirmed that a local Costco at 650 Gateway Center Dr. in the city's Mountain View neighborhood sported the very same sign pictured above. The signs were placed below menus and at a table where memberships are sold, the outlet reported.

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Some Instagram users claim the move "makes sense." For others who frequently devour the $2 pizza slices or $1.50 hot dogs, it came as an unwelcome surprise.

"My teenage kids run by and grab a quick lunch or dinner when they are working or going to school," one Twitter user wrote. "I also know people on a fixed income who appreciate being able to grab a cheap meal for their families without it costing a fortune."

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This report has been updated to reflect comments from Costco corporate communications.