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11 Major Changes You'll See At Costco In 2024

From numerous store openings to food court changes, the retailer will be busy all year long.

In the world of retail, Costco is undoubtedly one of the companies that generates the most buzz. Members are always raving about the retailer's tantalizing deals on bulk goods and household staples, or discussing the best new bakery items and snacks to hit Costco's shelves. These subtle in-store changes and rapid inventory turnover are a major part of Costco's business model—they keep members happy and always hungry for more.

But the warehouse's innovation runs much deeper than surface-level product swaps. Costco is also constantly working behind the scenes to add to its already massive list of services and make its entire shopping experience better, whether in-store or online. And, at the end of the day, larger shifts like these are what gets news outlets, investors, retail experts, and even competitors talking about the wholesale club as well.

Speaking of major changes, just in 2023 alone, Costco unveiled new advancements by the pallet load. Within the category of health and wellness, the warehouse expanded into telehealth to offer $29 primary care visits. It also cracked down heavily against membership fraud at its self checkouts and made some exciting additions to its fan-favorite food courts.

Though we're just a few months into 2024 now, plenty of additional changes have already been rolled out or are currently underway—and many of these will directly impact the shopping experience for members in the months ahead. Read on for the 11 biggest changes you'll see at Costco this year!

Rotisserie Chicken Packaging Switch

costco rotisserie chickens
The Image Party / Shutterstock

Beloved for their multitude of culinary uses and stubbornly low price of $4.99, Costco's rotisserie chickens are the stuff of legend at the warehouse club. So it should come as no surprise that when Costco recently made a major change to its famous roasted birds, it became huge news in the Costco community. 

In March, Costco began replacing the clear plastic containers it has long used to package its rotisserie chicken with plastic bags. An apparent internal memo posted on Reddit, which has since been deleted, indicated that the new bags would be more environmentally friendly than the old containers thanks to a 75% reduction in plastic.

Though Costco did not respond to our queries for comment and more details on the change, shoppers have already reported spotting the bags at several warehouses—and the reactions have been fiercely divided.

 6 Genius Ways to Use a Costco Rotisserie Chicken, Customers Say

A Change In Leadership


Costco's leadership team is undergoing a major shakeup in 2024. More than a decade after taking up the post in 2012, Craig Jelinek stepped down from the Costco CEO role on Jan. 1, 2024. Costco President and COO Ron Vachris, who has been working with the company for more than 40 years after starting out as a forklift driver, was elected to the position.

"Costco has a very strong culture and a deep bench of management talent," Jelinek said in a statement when announcing his intention to step down in October 2023. "I have total confidence in Ron and feel that we are fortunate as a company to have an executive of his caliber to succeed me."

Longtime Costco CFO Richard Galanti also stepped down stepped in March 2024 after nearly 40 years in the position. Gary Millerchip, who previously served as the senior vice president and CFO at Kroger, succeeded him in the role.

Food Court Policy Changes

Costco food court kiosk
ZikG / Shutterstock

Though Costco's policy on whether non-members are allowed to dine at its popular food courts seems to vary by location, certain warehouses have started to bar non-members from their in-store eateries in 2024. In early March, a member took to Reddit to share a photo of a sign they'd spotted at a Costco in Orlando, Fla. It read: "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."

Then, in a March interview with Axios, Galanti revealed that all U.S. clubs with outside food courts would start requiring membership cards to make purchases come April 8. Outdoor food courts are more easily accessible to non-members, and Galanti said the policy change was due to the overly large crowds they tended to draw.

"One of the challenges is that some of the food courts have gotten so busy, particularly if it's near some office buildings or construction sites," he told Axios. "We were getting member complaints."

In a separate yet notable change, a Redditor reported in March that their local Costco in a western Chicago suburb had revamped the food court ordering process. The shopper said that their food court had started requiring members to order from the self-service kiosks and then show their receipts to food court workers in order to have their food prepared. Previously, food court workers would be automatically notified about kiosk orders through a kitchen printer, freeing shoppers from the responsibility of showing their receipts.

Costco did not reply to our queries at the time regarding whether additional food courts will also adopt this ordering process, though several members responded to the Reddit post to note that their food courts have worked this way for some time.

 The Secretly Perfect Costco Food Court Item No One Ever Talks About

New Membership Card Scanners

Costco membership card scanners
@costcohotfinds / TikTok

It's no secret that shoppers are often required to flash their membership cards when entering Costco warehouses to prove that they're permitted to shop there. However, the retailer took its membership checking efforts to a whole new level earlier this year at one important location. 

In January, Costco's flagship warehouse near its headquarters in Issaquah, Wash., installed devices at its entrance that would scan membership cards before allowing shoppers to enter. A customer who posted about the change on Reddit explained that the devices would display a member's picture for employees to check upon scanning their card.

Costco did not respond to our queries at the time regarding why it installed the devices and whether they would be added to additional locations. However, Costco sometimes tests out new products and services at the Issaquah location to gauge how they'll be received before rolling them out on a wider basis. So, it's certainly within the realm of possibility that additional Costco locations will install membership scanners in the future. 

Food Court Swaps

Costco food court menu
ZikG / Shutterstock

Costco's crackdown against non-members isn't the only major change you'll see at food courts this year. The retailer is also making some significant updates to its food court menu.

Just before the end of 2023, Costco began rolling out a new Double Chocolate Chunk Cookie, which replaced the longstanding churro on the food court menu. Then in February, the retailer replaced its ever-controversial roast beef sandwich with a new turkey sandwich stacked with sliced, oven roasted turkey breast, Swiss cheese, sun-dried tomato spread, mayo, and mustard.

The final and most recent food court change came in late March, when shoppers spotted a new chocolate ice cream on the menu. While many Costco fans were happy to see the frozen treat arrive at the food court, others lamented that it replaced the popular strawberry ice cream, which has been racking up rave reviews since it debuted over the summer of 2023.

The beloved combo pizza once offered at the food court may even make its grand return this year, but perhaps not in the way that shoppers have long hoped. 

An apparent internal Costco memo recently emerged on Reddit claiming that the retailer plans to bring back combo pizza as a take-and-bake item in its deli section, rather than at the food court. However, Costco did not respond to our requests for confirmation on the claims at the time, so this should be taken with a grain of salt.

 5 Genius Hacks To Upgrade Your Costco Food Court Pizza

Fresh Sushi Is Coming to More Warehouses

Kirkland Signature sushi
The Image Party / Shutterstock

Costco probably isn't one of the places that comes to mind when you're craving fresh sushi, but that could very well change in the near future. In June 2023, Costco's Issaquah warehouse opened a brand-new Kirkland Signature Sushi department that serves freshly made rolls. Though some Costco locations already offer pre-prepared sushi from a third-party distributor—and Costco clubs in Hawaii and Japan have sold fresh sushi for some time—this was the first of such stations in the United States.

During a March 2024 earnings call, Costco executives revealed that they plan to expand Kirkland Signature Sushi to two additional locations. Though they didn't specify exactly which warehouses, Galanti said the sushi would arrive at those clubs "in the very near future." So keep an eye out just in case your local Costco is among the locations that will soon offer Kirkland Signature Sushi.

Price Decreases

Costco receipt
dennizn / Shutterstock

Inflation may be slowing down in 2024, but viral trends like the 6-to-1 shopping method show that many Americans are still looking for ways to save at the grocery store. In great news for any budget-conscious Costco members, the retailer announced in March that it had lowered prices on several essential grocery items like batteries, reading glasses, beverages, and produce. Four-pound bags of frozen fruit, for example, dropped from $14.99 to $10.99, while 24-count packs of San Pellegrino water dropped from $16.99 to $14.99, Galanti said at the time. 

Meanwhile, prices for 48-count packs of Kirkland Signature batteries went from $17.99 to $15.99 and reading glasses were discounted from $18.99 to $16.99. Galanti also said that many new sporting goods and lawn and garden items will be cheaper this year compared to 2023. 

That's not to say that every Costco item is more affordable in 2024, though. Costco shoppers have been reporting significant price increases for olive oil at the retailer this year, likely due to a trend of bad weather overseas that has negatively affected olive crops in recent years.

 7 Major Differences Between Costco and Sam's Club Right Now

A Massive Amount of Store Openings

costco storefront
Helen89 / Shutterstock

The construction never stops with Costco. As is the case in most years, 2024 will bring another round of ribbon cutting both nationally and beyond.

Costco announced during a March earnings call that it plans to open 30 new warehouses in the 2024 fiscal year, including relocations of two existing stores. That's slightly lower than the 33 openings Costco said it was planning for 2024 in December 2023, but still a significant step up from the 23 openings in 2023.

While Costco is building some of these new clubs in international markets like China and Japan, many are coming to America. Costco just held a grand opening for a new warehouse in Natomas, Calif., in March. Its website also currently lists a handful of upcoming openings in Loomis, Calif.; North Port, Fla.; Mount Juliet, Tenn.; Riverbank, Calif.; Richmond, Texas; Northwest Omaha, Neb.; and Chaska, Minn. All of these warehouses will open between May and July this year and help push Costco closer to the 900-store milestone.

 10 Best New Costco Items You Can Score Right Now

More App Improvements

Vladimka production / Shutterstock

Historically, Costco has not been at the forefront of technology, but the big box retailer has been working to step up its digital game. It has made several notable improvements to its app and website over the past year, such as rolling out a redesigned digital membership card, making its website search bar larger for easier use, and opening a digital optical store where customers can try on glasses and then order them for pickup.

Galanti said in December that "getting the foundation right" is the first order of business in improving its online services, but they'll also focus more on "targeting and then personalization" over the next couple of years.

Meanwhile, members are still waiting on other features like barcode scanning and online inventory lookup, which competitors like Walmart and Sam's Club already offer. Costco executives have been promising to introduce these features for some time and said in March that the inventory lookup feature should roll out in a few months. So, 2024 should hopefully be the year when these convenient tools start to take shape.

 25 Fun Costco Summer Items to Snag Before They Sell Out

A Membership Price Hike

Kenishirotie / Shutterstock

Costco has been hinting at plans to raise its membership fees for over a year now. As Galanti has repeatedly said in all of the retailer's recent earnings calls, a fee hike is "a question of when, not if." But Costco has yet to announce exactly when that fee increase will actually be implemented. 

Galanti explained in March that the company is performing well enough right now that it doesn't feel rushed to raise its membership rates.

"We like the fact that…most all metrics are going in the right direction in our business right now," he said during an earnings call. "We've got plenty of runway left."

Galanti said he's "sure" the company will raise its membership fees "at some point," but it won't be under his watch due to his retirement. However, it remains to be seen if the new CEO and CFO may be in more of a rush to implement a fee increase than their predecessors.

 13 Best International Foods You Can Score at Costco Right Now

Plus, a New Store Concept

City of Fresno

There's also been word that one of Costco's new locations could be unlike any other warehouse you've seen before. The company has proposed plans to build a mega-warehouse in Fresno, Calif., which would combine standard shopping and online order fulfillment all under one roof.

To make room for both, the building would stand at over 241,000 square feet. Compared to the company's normal warehouse size of 146,000 square feet, this would be an absolute behemoth—even bigger than the club's most massive U.S. building to date: the nearly 235,000-square-foot location in Salt Lake City. The plans also outline a cross-docking logistics hub for the new building, a drive-thru car wash, a gas station with 32 fuel pumps, and close to 900 parking stalls.

This story has been updated to include new entries, updated information, copyedits, and fact-checking. 

Megan Hageman
Megan is a freelance writer based in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Megan