After 14 months of having to pay for what they eat, Costco shoppers soon will be able to grab free samples again. The sampling will be phased in and operate under new rules, like much of life emerging from coronavirus restrictions. The food will be prepared in smaller batches than before, behind plexiglass, CNN reports. Samples will be given to shoppers one at a time, starting in early June in about 170 of its 550 stores. Most of the other stores will offer samples by the end of the month, per USA Today. The warehouse chain stopped the freebies in March 2020, then started giving out only prepackaged items behind plexiglass last summer.
The company is making changes in its food court, as well. Some of them will be outside, and others will have four seats per table instead of the former six or eight. The tables will be spread out more, making for half the seating overall that the food courts had before the pandemic. The menu is growing, with "new and improved churros" among the items added. Frozen yogurt is being replaced by a premium soft ice cream. Richard Galanti, the company's chief financial officer, said business in the food courts hasn't bounded back yet to what it was before the coronavirus. That's "probably going to take another several months," he said. (Read more Costco stories.)