Costco's New Food Court Item Is Causing A Stir

A shopping trip to Costco can be quite an ordeal, pushing a cart through aisles that look more like canyons due to the sky-high stacks of packed goods towering overhead. Luckily, there's always a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of an oasis known as the food court. What better way to refresh yourself – and recover from the painful ordeal of having spent half your paycheck on groceries – than with a delightfully cheap Costco hot dog and soda combo or a deliciously cheesy (and equally inexpensive) slice of pizza?

Not every item in Costco's food court is a winner. The churros changed in ways fans disliked while the acai bowl is a not-too-tasty sugar bomb, according to some. Still, whenever Costco introduces a new menu item, it usually generates quite a bit of excitement, as well it might. One recent addition, however, is attracting attention for something Costco would probably rather not publicize. According to Reddit, Costco is now selling a roast beef sandwich at a shockingly high price.

Costco fans are unlikely to embrace this pricey sandwich

This new sandwich, according to a photo posted to Reddit, is a fairly fancy one, made with deli roast beef dressed in onion relish and roasted cherry tomatoes and piled high on top of an artisan roll. It does look pretty tasty, despite the lack of cheese (why is there no cheese?), and 790 calories for an entire sandwich seems pretty reasonable. What's not reasonable at all, at least for the Costco food court, is the price tag – an unbelievable $9.99! Admittedly, this is based on a single Costco located in Lynnwood, Washington, a city where the average home price is upwards of $700,000, but it doesn't bode well for Costco food court prices in general.

Just last summer there was quite the kerfuffle when Costco hiked its soda prices 10 cents to $0.69 and, worse yet, raised the price of its chicken bake a buck to $3.99. How, then does the big box behemoth think that a sandwich at more than twice that price is going to fly? Needless to say, not many people in the Reddit comments section were applauding Costco's savvy marketing. While some felt that the store might be testing the waters, others pointed out that the whole reason for eating at the food court is to get decent food on the cheap. No matter how great this sandwich may be, if you want a gourmet experience, you're not going to be dining at Chez Costco.

Costco charges less for its roast beef sandwiches in Japan and Korea

While Costco might be based out of Washington state (land of high-priced homes and sandwiches), it expanded its operations to go worldwide a decade ago. There are now Costco stores in many different countries, each with its own food court offerings. In Iceland, you can get gelato, while Spain's food courts have croquetas, and Canadian Costcos dish up poutine. Japan and Korea, it seems, both had roast beef sandwiches on their respective menus long before these were introduced in this country.

The Korean roast beef sandwich, which hit Costco food courts in 2017, was somewhat different than the version we now have here as it was made with barbecue sauce, fried onions, bell peppers, and balsamic dressing and cooked inside a bun in a similar fashion to the chicken bake. Its price? A reasonable 6,700 won, which at today's exchange rates is equivalent to just over $5. Japan, however, seems to be offering a similar roast beef sandwich to the one cold in the U.S. if the picture is anything to go by. According to Twitter, Costco Japan had it last July, and it was priced at a mere 980 yen, or about $7.25. 

Costco's food court offers much better options for $10

What's the deal, Costco? Why does the roast beef sandwich cost so much more here than it does abroad? Thanks but no thanks – after all, for that same ten-spot there are a lot of other menu options we'd rather go with. If we were really, really hungry, we could get six hot dogs and sodas with a buck left over for a churro. We could also mix and match two $3.99 chicken bakes, turkey/provolone sandwiches, and/or chicken caesar salads and have more than enough change for an ice cream dessert.

An even better bargain for that $10 would be a whole pizza, baked onsite. If you're willing to step outside the food court itself, though, and to opt for something that's more of a take-home meal, $10 could get you two entire rotisserie chickens. Unlike a sandwich, which you'll probably finish in a single sitting, even a single rotisserie chicken can be stretched out for several meals. As Costco shoppers are by and large a budget-minded bunch, we're not expecting that spendy sandwich to stick around for too long.