Costco Cracks Down on Food Court Seating, Only Allowing Paying Members to Sit at Tables

“Costco is able to keep our prices as low as possible because our membership fees help offset our operational expenses," the company previously told PEOPLE

<p>Cal Sport Media via AP</p> Costco; Beijing, Hebei, China; October 2022

Cal Sport Media via AP

Costco; Beijing, Hebei, China; October 2022

If you plan on dining in Costco, be prepared to make sure you have proof of membership!

According to multiple reports, the retail company is cracking down on the rules and regulations, and making sure that only their paying customers receive certain benefits — such as access to its food courts and the $1.50 hot dogs found there.

Related: 28-Year-Old Throws a Costco-Themed Birthday Party — with Hot Dog Floats and Free Samples

The buzz behind the enforcement of the rule began when a Reddit user shared a sign in the r/Costco community chat in March. The photo was allegedly taken at a Costco location in Orlando, Florida.

“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,” the sign read, Food & Wine reported on Friday.

CBS News shared the Reddit story on Monday as well.

<p>Getty</p> food court -- stock image


food court -- stock image

PEOPLE reached out to a Costco rep for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

This would not be the first time the company has taken preventative measures to ensure their members are the only shoppers receiving benefits.

“Costco is able to keep our prices as low as possible because our membership fees help offset our operational expenses, making our membership fee and structure important to us,” the company said in a statement to PEOPLE in June 2023.

Related: Costco Stores Will Soon Require a Membership to Eat at Their Famously Inexpensive Food Court

At the time, the brand attempted to cut down on non-members taking advantage of perks by implementing photo-verification systems at its self-checkout kiosks.

During their summer statement, Costco added, “Our membership cards are not transferable and since expanding our self-service checkout, we’ve noticed that non-member shoppers have been using membership cards that do not belong to them."

<p>George Rose/Getty</p> Costco food court, Camino Real Marketplace Shopping Center

George Rose/Getty

Costco food court, Camino Real Marketplace Shopping Center

“We don’t feel it’s right that non members receive the same benefits and pricing as our members.”

Since 2022, the company has committed to keeping the hot dog combo meal under two dollars for its members, “possibly forever.”

The deal comes with a 1/4 lb. beef hot dog and 20 oz. soda (with refill).

In January, a content creator named Joey Kinsley, who goes by Sir Yacht on TikTok, tried eating just the value meal for a full week.

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According to the Costco member, the deal was “absof--kinglutely” worth every penny — although his total actually came up to $43.50 for 29 hot dogs.

He spoke exclusively to PEOPLE after his social media experiment was complete.

“What I’m really gonna miss most is not just consuming glizzies, but spending only $1.50 on a meal," Kinsley said. "That’s something that’s completely unheard of in 2024.”

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