Costco truly is the best place to shop if you're looking to save money on everyday grocery essentials, home cleaning products, prescriptions, books, and even clothes.
However, one of my most favorite things about the warehouse store is the food court. Unlike pricey mall restaurants, dining at Costco's indoor or outdoor food court doesn't take a toll on your wallet when you have a family to treat.
Plus, you don't even need a membership to take advantage of the beloved $1.50 hot dog combo or the rest of their menu items. Simply tell the greeter at the entrance that you'd like to pick up some food and they'll let you in at their discretion.
I always remember to carry some cash since some food counters don't have card readers. Also, I always mentally prepare myself for long lineups. Some customers only come to the store for their affordable eats, and there is usually a bit of a wait.
However, what many people never realized is that there is an easy way to skip the line and get your food faster!
You're probably thinking how is skipping acceptable? Well, thanks to Reddit user pyroxyze, we have an answer!
The trick is to place your order during checkout at the register. Once you're done paying for your purchases, just take your receipt to the pickup counter to receive your food. This is especially useful for those days when you aren't carrying any cash.
"Pro-tip: When you purchase something at the register, say you would like to add a hot dog to your order. They add it, you go straight to pick-up and show them your receipt. Voila, no more paying with cash," wrote pyroxyze in a Reddit AMA thread. "Source: Personal experience since parents never carry cash."
A Costco food court employee agreed that while this is indeed possible, and should cut the wait time, you may not be served immediately if it's busy.
"Please, for my sanity, don't expect to be served immediately if there's a long line just because you prepaid," replied Legionofdoom.
Now that you have this important piece of information, use it when you have to, but keep in mind that the option may not be available at all Costco locations. So remember to ask before you get your hopes up.
If the option to order food at checkout isn't available to you, perhaps your location has one of the new self-serve kiosks that the warehouse club has been testing. Costco introduced the kiosks earlier this year, and some customers are already raving about their effectiveness.
"The @Costco in Tustin has a self-service kiosk at the food court," wrote Twitter user William Strong. "I bought and received food in under three minutes on a Sunday afternoon."
The @Costco in Tustin has a self-service kiosk at the food court.— William Strong (@willdstrong) February 12, 2018
I bought and received food in under three minutes on a Sunday afternoon 🙃
So far, the kiosks only accept payment with a debit or credit card. Once you've placed your order, it will dispense a receipt that you can take to the window to pick up your food.
Costco has not confirmed whether or not the machines will be coming to more locations this year, but judging by the success of its pilot project, we wouldn't be surprised if they decide to go ahead with a larger roll out.
Another thing to note is that if you want to buy pizza at Costco, you can just call and place an order ahead of time. You can call before you shop, and then pick up your pies on your way out.