The Costco Checkout Hack That Cuts Down Food Court Waiting Times

By now, it's a well-known fact that one part of the shopping experience at Costco is waiting in long lines. Given the sheer volume of devout shoppers clamoring for big discounts at the popular warehouse retailer, Costco has attracted more than its fair share of "busy hours," which can cause extended wait times at the checkout lines and even the Costco food court.

Thankfully, there is a resolution to at least one of these issues. If you want to skip the giant food court line, here's a tip: Do all of your necessary shopping beforehand, and when you get ready to check out, simply place your food court order with your grocery checkout clerk. From there, you can skip right past the queue and go straight to the food pick-up window with your receipt to grab your eats.

According to posts on Reddit, this hack may only apply at certain locations, but if your local Costco has the option, it can be a foolproof method for cutting your wait time significantly and getting to enjoy that $1.50 hot dog even quicker.

How to know if your Costco offers the order-ahead option

In order to determine if this hack will work at your local Costco, there are a few caveats to consider. For starters, it obviously works only when you're purchasing something from inside a physical store (rather than online or for delivery orders).

Also, according to a thread on the r/Costco Reddit message board, some shoppers have said Costco spots that provide this service will readily present the information to you as you begin checking out, prompting you with the question, "Anything from the food court?" and displaying a laminated menu with bar codes. This makes the transaction easy for the cashier to add into your overall purchase.

Other Redditors have specified that this order-ahead method has gone extinct ever since Costco introduced self-service kiosks in the food court, though you can still order a whole pizza ahead of time. Some also have complained that lines at the pick-up window are just as brutal as lines at the traditional order window, so the best bet is to leave some extra time, just in case.