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Costco Food Court Now Testing Self-Ordering Kiosks

Hitting up the Costco food court for a hot dog or a pizza slice is almost a tradition these days. When the store's packed in, though, waiting in line can be a drag. Looks like the wholesale chain caught onto that problem, as they're now testing out self-ordering kiosks at a few locations.

Our Instagram friend @ocfoodfiend tipped us off to one that just started up in Tustin, CA. We were also able to independently confirm that one other location in the greater Los Angeles area, one store in Tucson, Arizona, and a store in Covington, Washington also have a Costco food court kiosk set up. (UPDATE: Thanks to the Orange County Register, we can now confirm that the other Los Angeles Costco testing the kiosks out is in Pacoima, California.)

Foodbeast's own Elie Ayrouth was nearby the Tustin location, so he headed over to see what the new tech was like.

Photo: Elie Ayrouth | Foodbeast

Next to the food court is a station set up with six terminals. Each has a monitor where you can order off of everything on the menu. You also have the option to edit your order to your liking.

Afterwards, you'll be directed to pay using one of the typical PIN devices you see at every generic checkout stand. Cash is currently not accepted, but you can still use the traditional windows for that. Your receipt will print, and you can head over to a special kiosk pick-up window to get your food.

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Photo: Elie Ayrouth | Foodbeast

Here's what Ayrouth thought of the entire process:

"EXTREMELY efficient. Not a single hiccup during the process, picked the items I wanted, was able to delete an accidental double order, swiped my card, done. We took our receipt right to the window, no number being called, and all of our food was ready. Slices got put into plates, they pulled a hot dog and gave it to us, gave us soda cups."

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Ayrouth did go to Costco during a time when there was virtually no traffic at the food court or kiosk, but its speed should still speak volumes on those crowded days. Judging by how instantaneous the process was in this scenario, customers who utilize it during the busy times will find wait times to be at least slightly faster.

That being said, Ayrouth still had some minor reservations and questions about the kiosk system.

"My main question is how they will handle the kiosks once major lines start forming there instead of the window. With basic math we should see wait times go down though. Instead of waiting in one queue to put your order in with a human, you can wait at one of six kiosk stalls to punch in your order with a machine and move on to waiting for your food order.

That said, you now depend on people being able to use a computer. It's not rocket science by any means, if you've used an ATM this is even easier. But you know how some tech illiterate folks get."

If everyone finds the Costco food court kiosk experience to be as fast and efficient as this one was, Costco's test program would definitely be considered a success, opening up the possibility for more kiosks to be installed across the country.