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Sam's Club Just Launched a New Food Court Item—and Costco Better Watch Out

Sam's Club keeps one-upping Costco in the food court arena, announcing another change to its café menu.

Sam's Club keeps giving shoppers more reasons to rethink their warehouse club loyalties. The Walmart-owned members-only club has been raising the stakes in its ongoing rivalry with Costco. One major battleground is turning out to be the food court.

Last November, Sam's generated a lot of attention when it dropped the price of its hot dog and soda combo from $1.50 to $1.38—12 cents cheaper than Costco's own longstanding low-cost deal. The move triggered a high-profile review of both frankfurter combos by The Los Angeles Times and also ignited a broader debate about which warehouse club is better overall.

This week, Sam's announced another change to its café menu, and yet again, comparison shoppers should immediately take note of the price tag.

Costco Doubles Down On Expansion Plans And Fee Increases, As Sam's Club Rivalry Heats Up

Sam's Club birthday sundae
Courtesy of Sam's Club

In celebration of Sam's Club's upcoming 40th birthday, the retailer launched a colorful new birthday cake sundae, available through the end of April and priced at $1.58.

That's almost a dollar less than Costco's own ice cream sundae, which costs $2.49.

The new Sam's Club sundae is not only cheaper than Costco's, it's also a bit fancier. The dessert is made with vanilla frozen yogurt, layered with pieces of iced birthday cake made fresh in the retailer's bakery, and topped with brightly colored confetti sprinkles. Sam's Club also offers a brownie sundae for the same price, as noted recently by Instagram fan account @samsclubmember.

The sundaes at Costco, meanwhile, are much more simple: just vanilla ice cream topped with your choice of chocolate or strawberry sauce.

Though perhaps a more subtle way of undercutting its competitor than the earlier hot-dog maneuver, the lower-priced sundaes nonetheless add to a growing list of things that Sam's Club has done to one-up Costco's food court offerings.

When Costco dropped its popular Polish dog in 2018, Sam's Club added its own version to the menu. Where Costco offers only cheese and pepperoni pizza, Sam's Club ups the ante with four-meat and deluxe options. Sam's also puts out a wider selection of condiments and soft drinks.

Of course, the food court is just one area where Sam's Club is looking to compete with Costco. CNBC recently spotlighted the retailer's efforts to outdo its chief rival in terms of technology and private-label merchandise.

Dollar for dollar, though, Sam's Club still has a long way to go to catch up to Costco. In 2022, Sam's reported net sales of $73.6 billion, while Costco raked in $222.7 billion, per CNBC.

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