Costco's food court is the subject of endless debate. On the one hand, it remains one of America's most affordable meal options: the famously low-priced hot dog and soda combo still has an inflation-defying price tag of $1.50, while a slice of pizza costs a mere $1.99. On the other hand, the menu is quite limited and the options have only decreased over time.
At least that's how it looks at Costco warehouses in the United States, where aggrieved club members regularly bemoan the loss of once-popular items, like the Polish sausage, the combo pizza, and even something as simple as chopped onions to put on top of a plain ole hot dog.
If you happen to visit a Costco warehouse anywhere else in the world, however, the food court may look a lot different. Indeed, reports of more diverse food court offerings at Costco locations internationally—from poutine in Canada to bánh mì and bubble tea in Australia—have only served to further stoke the envy of American Costco fans.
Just this week, a club member vacationing in Mexico sparked jealousy back home by posting a photo on Reddit of the hot dog toppings available at Costco in Cabo San Lucas, including not only chopped onions, but jalapeños, too!
Looks like I have to go to Cabo San Lucas Mexico for some onions. Bonus they have Jalapeno's as well! Yes I'm vacationing in Cabo and stopped at Costco to look around and buy a hot dog…
by u/SquanchySnoo in Costco
Commenters reacted with the usual outrage. "Let's stage a walkout/demand for jalapeños and onions in all US stores!" one wrote.
"Costco needs to either bring the onions back in the USA and take the loss $ if that's what it comes to, or slightly raise the price if they aren't willing to take a loss," wrote another. "Cutting back options/add ons or quality is a dumb move."
The original poster later noted that the Costco hot dog actually costs a little more in Mexico—35 pesos, or about $1.93 in U.S. dollars—but suggested the added expense is worth it, in exchange for additional toppings. "I'd pay that every day to have onions and Jalapenos," the poster wrote.
While the lack of menu diversity remains a sore spot for American Costco members, the club's most recent attempt to upgrade its food court offerings also resulted in controversy. In February, the members-only club debuted a new roast beef sandwich at a single warehouse in Lynnwood, Wash., a move widely viewed as a test run for a potential wider roll-out down the road. Customers were less than thrilled, however, with many balking at the $9.99 price tag.
Despite all the online griping, Costco probably feels no urgent pressure to shake things up, menu-wise. Club membership continues to grow—now over 68 million worldwide and counting—with a reported renewal rate of over 90 percent in the U.S. and Canada.
In fact, the relatively paltry state of its U.S. food courts stands in stark contrast to the otherwise robust state of the warehouse club in general. Costco reported net earnings of $5.84 billion in fiscal year 2022, with plans to expand its big-box empire to include 27 new locations worldwide this year alone.