The Most Overpriced Item At Costco's Food Court

Costco's food court was made in the image of the store itself: You can go big while going cheap. But not everything on the menu is a great deal. Sure, you can order the hot dog combo — a quarter-pound, all-beef frank plus 20-ounce drink — for just $1.50. The price on that meal hasn't changed since it was introduced in 1985. The most expensive food court item is the $9.95 pizza — an unbeatable deal for Costco's 18-inch pie, stacked with toppings. The Costco Connection notes that its pizza also has cost the same since it was introduced in 1989.

While the hot dogs may be a steal, literally — Costco has said it loses money on the combo meals and uses them as a loss leader (via Business Insider) – some other menu items just don't seem to be a good deal, especially given that Costco has set the food court bargain bar so high.

So what should a budget-minded Costco shopper (and is there any other kind?) avoid at the food court?

The Costco food court cheeseburger is not worth the price

The price of a fruit smoothie went from $1.45 to $2.99 after an upgrade, but the new smoothie boasts four servings of fruit, and no added sugar or artificial flavorings. If you start comparison shopping at your favorite stand-alone smoothie purveyor, you'll end up back in line at Costco for its 16-ounce shot of fruity goodness.

The BBQ beef brisket sandwich might look a little pricey at $4.99, but the sheer volume of barbecue-laden beef in the sandwich is hard to argue with. Again, it's a price that's not going to be found at barbecue stands elsewhere.

For the worst cost-to-food-satisfaction ratio, turn your eyes to the bold block letters on the food court menu that read: "CHEESEBURGER $4.99." Sure, this burger is Costco big, with six ounces of beef. But by most accounts, this option is underwhelming. 

"I was disappointed in the first one I bought," foodcourtgirl proclaimed on Reddit. "Purchased a second one a few weeks later, still wasn't impressed. Not juicy, hardly any flavor. I also think for the price they should at least throw in a drink." 

Unlike all-natural smoothies or brisket sandwiches, cheap burger options are widely available. McDonald's double Quarter Pounder with cheese — that's eight ounces of beef — is 20 cents less, according to Fast Food Menu Prices, at $4.79.

Bottom line: You can find a better burger elsewhere, for less than $4.99. But let's hope the Costco food court's $1.50 hot dog combo lives forever.