person speaking in Costco with caption 'do I still need a membership' (l) Costco food court with menu (c) person speaking outside Costco with caption 'I'll never get a chicken' (r)

Helen89/Shutterstock @jacoconuts/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘I’ll never get a chicken bake’: Customer tries to find out whether he can get into Costco food court without membership

'I just wanna eat at the food court.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Sep 29, 2023

Costco is known not only for its good deals, lenient return policy, and positive working environment but for its food court as well.

Internet users have raved about the various items available at the Costco food court. For example, the chain’s $1.50 hot dog and soda combo has become famous for its low price, and the Costco Chicken Bake is a beloved staple amongst the store’s shoppers.

The food is so good, in fact, that some have questioned whether they need a membership to get it. One such person is TikTok user Jacob Lee (@jacoconuts), who documented his experience trying to get a Costco Chicken Bake without a membership.

@jacoconuts I just want to try the Chicken Bake #costco #food ♬ original sound – Jacob Lee

In the video, which currently has over 353,000 views as of Friday, Lee enters the Costco before realizing that he’s supposed to have a membership to enter.

“I’m stupid,” he says. “I forgot you need a membership to these places!”

Hoping he can eat at the food court without a membership, he approaches an employee and asks if he needs a membership to dine in.

“Yeah, you do. They changed that, I’m sorry,” the employee says. “They used to not do that but they do now.”

Sadly, Lee leaves Costco without his Chicken Bake.

According to CNET, Costco used to allow non-members to eat in the food court. However, “since early 2020, Costco has required a membership card to buy anything at the food court, including chicken bakes, barbecue beef brisket sandwiches, ice cream and churros.”

That said, the article notes that there are other things one can buy at a Costco without a membership, such as prescriptions and, in some states, alcohol.

In the comments section of Lee’s video, users shared their own tricks for getting around the membership requirement for Costco’s food court.

“Just go in through the exit and use the food court kiosk (you don’t need a membership card to use it),” a user claimed.

“Sometimes I’ll go to the return line, act like I’m returning smt (they don’t check id until you’re at the desk) then walk to the court past the return,” added another.

“Get a gift card for Costco with $5 and you can go with giftcard,” a third said.

“Next time tell them you are going to pharmacy! You dont need a membership for that…then go to food court,” stated an additional TikToker.

“I Don’t have a membership and go in all the time for the pizza,” another user alleged. “Don’t ask just walk in.”

Costco has recently come under fire for cracking down on those without membership cards, which may be the reason why many shoppers are looking to these “hacks.” As for whether these tricks work, according to Insider, shopping online, using a gift card, and being the guest of a Costco member while shopping will allow you to bypass the membership rule. However, one shopper says she was able to get away with not having a membership by ordering from DoorDash.

The Daily Dot reached out to Lee via Instagram direct message and Costco via the media contact form.

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*First Published: Sep 29, 2023, 8:18 am CDT