Attention, Costco shoppers: Those free samples are about to make a complete comeback.
The retailer revealed during its third quarter earnings call it will bring back full sampling as well as its food court and seating, in another sign of the U.S. slowly shifting toward normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Richard Galanti, chief financial officer and executive vice president at Costco, said the retailer will introduce full sampling in phases.
About 170 of Costco’s approximately 550 locations will bring back full sampling by the first week of June, with the rest of locations returning to full sampling by the end of June.
Last summer, Costco brought back free samples after suspending the initiative due to the pandemic. However, they were limited to prepackaged items kept behind plexiglass shields.
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“Increased safety protocols are and will be in place, including all samples prepared behind plexiglass, prepared in smaller batches for better safety control and distribute it to members one at a time,” said Galanti during the earnings call.
Costco also plans to bring back seating for food courts by next month, but it will be about half the seating capacity as it was before the pandemic. The tables will be spaced out to maintain physical separation, and seat a maximum of four people.
The retailer also plans to roll out new food items this summer as it expands its food court menu, including “new and improved churros” as well as high-end soft ice cream to replace their frozen yogurt, said Galanti.
Earlier this month, Costco announced it was dropping its requirement for shoppers to wear masks after becoming one of the first retailers to mandate the practice at the start of the pandemic.
Kelly Tyko contributed to this report. Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.