Calling all Costco fans! The wholesale store is finally planning to reopen its food courts and start offering samples to customers again.
Free samples used to be one of the best parts about browsing Costco aisles, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the store hasn’t offered samples in months. The company also shut down food courts and limited purchases of certain products, as did many other grocery stores.
Though these adjustments were for the greater good, they also diminished the company’s popularity with shoppers. On a May 2020 earnings call, Costco’s CFO Richard Galanti announced that in-person traffic in U.S. stores had gone down by 2%.
Indeed, people on social media have joked about the loss of free samples, with user @sixfootcandy writing, “Where am I supposed to get free lunch now?”
Costco samples have been suspended until further notice. Where am I supposed to get free lunch now?
— Jawbreaker (@sixfootcandy) March 7, 2020
So, Costco is doing what it can to bring fans back into stores — starting with the chain’s beloved samples and food courts.
According to Galanti, nearly all Costco food courts will be back up and running by mid-June. Stores will also start to slowly re-introduce free samples.
Things will look a bit different, of course, as the pandemic isn’t over just yet. “Needless to say, [it’s] not going to be where you go and just pick up an open sample with your fingers,” Galanti said during the earnings call.
Also, the food courts will offer a limited menu for now, but based on what’s already been happening in some stores, that menu will include pizza and hot dogs (phew!).
Costco has also made other changes to keep employees and customers safe. In May, the company announced that all shoppers must wear protective face coverings in stores and at the warehouse club gas stations. All employees are required to wear face masks as well.
Additionally, in April, Costco announced that healthcare workers and first responders who shop at Costco can automatically skip to the front of the line.
With so many people itching to get back to some semblance of “normal,” any progress counts. You’ll be back to hoarding Costco desserts in no time!