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I Tried Costco's New Food Court Sandwich & It's Worse Than the Last One

Move over, roast beef! Here comes the turkey Swiss: smaller, cheaper, yet oddly higher in calories.
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The last time that Costco launched a new sandwich in its hallowed food courts, the move attracted a lot of attention, but not in a good way. The ill-fated roast beef sandwich (R.I.P.) faced a flurry of criticism from the first moment that a photo of the new menu item hit social media.

It wasn't so much the sandwich itself that drew scrutiny. Not the meat, not the toppings, not the bread, and certainly not the serving size, either. Weighing over a full pound, the massive sandwich would seem right at home next to Costco's famous eight-inch-long, quarter-pound hot dogs.

No, the main gripe was the posted price tag: $9.99—a glaring red flag for shoppers long accustomed to paying just $1.50 for a hefty hot dog and soda.

Despite the public outcry, Costco nevertheless stuck to its guns and proceeded with a nationwide rollout of its instantly unpopular new sandwich last summer. The retailer's resolve, however, quickly dissolved like soggy bread. In October, rumors of the roast beef sandwich's inevitable demise became rampant on Reddit. By February, Redditors were already buzzing about its impending replacement, and within weeks, customers began spotting an all-new food court turkey sandwich at warehouses nationwide.

Finally, during an earnings call with investors on March 7, Costco Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti reported that the widely speculated food-court sandwich switcheroo was fully complete. The roast beef was dunzo. Long live turkey Swiss! On the call, Galanti described the newest offering as a "great-tasting turkey sandwich for $6.99."

Having tried Costco's prior food-court sandwich flop—and finding it not so bad, actually—I felt compelled to sample the new substitute as well. Here's how Costco's new sandwich stacks up to its doomed predecessor.

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Roast Beef Sandwich (2023 – 2024)

Roast beef sandwich at Costco
Chris Shott/Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition (Per Serving):
Calories: 790

Sandwiches aren't exactly a new thing in the Costco food court. Customers still pine over a hot turkey and provolone sandwich that the warehouse club unceremoniously discontinued, along with several other food court items, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After clamoring for its comeback, fans of the former sandwich were understandably dismayed by the debut of the new roast beef variety last year. Not only did it cost more money and come with the wrong meat—it was also the wrong temperature. The new sandwich was served cold. This unfortunate trait only worsened the new item's already chilly reception.

Still, there were some positive aspects about the roast beef sandwich, as well. Served on an artisan roll and topped with roasted cherry tomatoes and an intriguing onion relish, it was unquestionably the most ambitious food court offering from a culinary standpoint in a long time—and the closest thing to a complete meal.

The look: Big and beefy. The immense sandwich barely fit on its paper serving plate when I tried it last August. It included an ample amount of roast beef, though the meat came fully brown and much more well-done than I would like. Pink pickled onions poked out at the sides and a yellow mayo-mustard sauce beamed brightly underneath a layer of leafy green lettuce. The roll, meanwhile, appeared crusty and golden on top but doughy inside.

The taste: Hearty and mostly satisfying. The roast beef was tender and much juicier than it looked, and the toppings gave it some depth. I liked the brightness of the cherry tomatoes and sticky sweetness of the onion relish, but I wished there were more of both elements. And the bread felt sufficiently supple yet soft in all the right places.

Admittedly, though, the whole thing would be so much better if the sandwich came warm and toasty instead.

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Turkey Swiss Sandwich (2023 – ?)

Turkey Swiss Sandwich from the food court at Costco Wholesale
Chris Shott/Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition (Per Serving):
Calories: 900

Priced at $3 less than its doomed predecessor, Costco's new turkey Swiss sandwich would seem like an immediate improvement, at least financially. Moreover, switching from roast beef to turkey suggests that Costco isn't completely ignoring the very vocal fans of the prior white-meat incarnation. But, the Costco experience in general is about getting good value for your money, and it's questionable whether a cheaper, leaner sandwich is really a trade-up or trade-down. Like the roast beef, the new turkey offering is served cold.

The look: Noticeably smaller if more manageable than the roast beef offering. That much is clear at first glance. The sandwich measured about five inches long and three inches high. It weighed just under 12 ounces—considerably less than the pound-plus roast beef variety that came before. The bread looks very similar to the prior roll, just more diminutive. Even so, Costco is not entirely skimping on the portion size. I counted five slices of turkey and two thick slabs of Swiss cheese between the bread. It's a very saucy, messy-looking sandwich, too, with the bright orange sun-dried tomato spread oozing from the top and a healthy slathering of yellow mustard-mayo on the bottom.

But, boy, is it crumbly! Despite its similar looks, the bread seemed more flimsy than before, with a sizable chunk coming loose on the bottom as soon as I picked it up. Not an encouraging sign.

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Close-up of the new turkey swiss sandwich at Costco Wholesale
Chris Shott/Eat This, Not That!

The taste: Palatable but tame. Like the previous roast beef, the sliced turkey is a lot softer and moister than it looks, and the substantial stack of cheese on top adds some creaminess and richness to the many layers of lean protein below. Texturally, though, it's pretty monotonous. Unlike the prior version, there's no onion or anything really crispy to give it some needed crunch and complexity. Overall, it feels like a very basic sandwich, perfectly fine as fuel, but nothing especially interesting or exciting.

The sun-dried tomato spread is its saving grace. Vibrant and tangy, the brightly colored sauce would liven up just about anything, not just cold bland meat and cheese on a roll. Without that, this sandwich is a total dud.

Interestingly, as the price of a food court sandwich has come down, the calorie count has gone up, which seems odd for a smaller item made with reputedly leaner meat. (Costco doesn't post full nutrition information for its food court items, only calorie counts, so it's unclear exactly where all that extra energy is coming from.)

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With any transaction there are trade-offs, and Costco's new lower-priced offering is less enjoyable as a result. But, there is still a way to rescue this star-crossed sandwich from meeting the same fate as its forlorn forerunner. And Costco already has all the equipment it needs to correct course right there in the food court. As one shopper on Reddit wrote recently, "PUT IT THROUGH THE PIZZA OVEN YOU COWARDS."

Yes, the answer is so simple: just add heat. A quick warm-up of that roll would improve the experience immensely, making it nice and toasty and silencing many critics in the process.

Costco, you can do this. You've already addressed the pricing complaints, while at the same time tossing a bone to the nostalgists who still yearn for their old turkey-filled favorite. Now's the time for a final fix.

Give us a warm sandwich—or give up on sandwiches, altogether.

Chris Shott
Chris Shott is the Deputy Editor covering restaurants and groceries for Eat This, Not That! Read more about Chris