Once upon a time, well before a global pandemic and well before we had to #MaskUp and drown our hands in sanitizer during and after every outing, Costco began testing self-ordering kiosks at its food courts. Here, shoppers could, skip the long line and, with a press of a button, order their pepperoni pizza slices and smoothies and chicken bakes and açaí bowls sans human interaction. This was two years ago, and since, the kiosks have slowly made their way to Costco food courts. But now, amid a pandemic that encourages avoiding others like the, well, plague? They’re the only way to order at some Costco food courts; and if a recent post on Reddit is any indication, they might just take over all Costco food courts.
While the self-service kiosk is anything but new for some Costco shoppers — “I assumed everyone had this,” writes one Redditor — others are just now seeing the kiosks at their local stores. “Just used it today at my local Costco that opened today (yay!)” one writes, while another adds, “Just saw them in my warehouse for the first time last week. Ordering was super quick and easy.”
According to one user who lives in Charlotte, the kiosk has been the only way to order at the food court since the pandemic began in the spring. “They started the self checkout right at the start of the pandemic and switched to 100% in the last few months,” they wrote.
When Costco began testing the kiosks in 2018, it was their way of reducing and eliminating long food court lines. So, it makes perfect sense they ramped up the kiosks at a time when crowding is discouraged. The touching of screens, however, isn’t ideal, but it does also avoid human interaction. Just make sure you have plenty of hand sanitizer on your person.
According to FoodBeast, Costco’s self-ordering kiosks started in stores in Tustin, CA; Tucson, AZ; Pacoima, CA; and Covington, WA.
So, is this what the future of Costco’s food courts will look like? It certainly seems like it.
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