When you order catering at Costco, don’t expect a team to show up with buffet chafers and punch bowls.
The retailer doesn’t offer catering in the typical sense; rather, it provides a variety of party platters at affordable prices. We know that might not sound like much, and to be fair, the catering label is a bit of a misnomer. But if you’re throwing a last-minute party and don’t have cash to spare, the warehouse store’s catering party platters are a low-cost solution.
The only issue is that Costco doesn't really advertise this service online, relying on an in-store ordering system that many shoppers overlook. We’re remedying that with this article, which should answer all your Costco catering questions.
What Is Costco Catering?
At each Costco deli, you have the choice of four platters: croissant sandwich, chicken and Swiss roller, shrimp, and meat and cheese. Costco sushi and chicken wing platters are options at select locations, too.
Though the process is low-tech, ordering one (or several) of these gargantuan platters is simple enough. You head to Costco’s deli, fill out a form, and return once your order is ready.
What Food and Drinks Does Costco Cater?
Costco only caters a few items from its deli. As we mentioned above, all Costco warehouses sell four standard platters, while a select few also sell sushi and chicken wing spreads. Of course, you can supplement your catering haul with Costco’s abundant stock of appetizers, party foods, and drinks.
|Meat and Cheese||$26.99||16 - 20 people||$1.35 - $1.69|
|Croissant Sandwich||$39.99||16 - 20 people||$2 - $2.50|
|Chicken and Swiss Roller||$39.99||20 - 24 people||$1.67 - $2|
|Shrimp||$42.99||20 - 24 people||$1.80 - $2.15|
|Sushi (select locations)||$36.99||24 people||$1.54|
|Chicken Wing (select locations)||$41.97||15 people||$2.80|
How To Order Costco Catering
Whether it’s because of stubbornness or stinginess, Costco has never been on the cutting edge of technology. Despite customers’ calls for a scan-and-go feature at checkout, for example, the store has yet to upgrade its shopping experience. That’s true for its catering operation as well.
To order party platters, you have two low-tech options:
Head to the deli department at your local Costco warehouse and fill out a paper order form. (If you’d like to preview an order form, we have a PDF, though the prices are not current.)
Call your local Costco, follow directions to connect to the deli department, and place your order over the phone. To find your closest store’s phone number, use the warehouse locator. Note that some members say it’s hard to reach the deli over the phone, so you may have to complete your order in person.
In other words, if you’re familiar with ordering Costco’s sheet cake, it’s a similar process.
They require the following details:
Party platter type and quantity
Costco Catering Tips
Order 24 hours in advance: The deli needs at least 24 hours to prepare your order. If you need pre-made food on short notice, order a pizza from Costco’s food court, or consider the retailer’s prepared meals.
Supplement your order: If you’re throwing a proper party, a single Costco croissant sandwich platter won’t be enough. But that shouldn’t be an issue, as Costco sells plenty of beverages, appetizers, and pre-cooked mains.
Consider competitors: As much as we love Costco here at Cheapism, it’s not always the best option. For example, Sam’s Club sells comparable party trays that you can order online for delivery or pickup.
Pay attention to per-person pricing: Tight budget? Then look at per-unit pricing. Some Costco platters, notably the croissant and chicken wing options, are more expensive on a per-serving basis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Costco have fruit trays?
Yes, Costco sells fruit trays. Released this year, the warehouse store’s fruit and cheese tray sells for $4.99 a pound, with most costing around $17.50 a tray.
Do I need a Costco membership to order Costco catering?
Unfortunately, yes. You need a Costco membership to enter the store and also to fill out the order form, which requires a membership number. One way to shop without a membership? Go with a friend and have them order for you.
Will Costco cater my event in person?
No, Costco will not come to your event in person. Its catering service is limited to a selection of food platters that you have to pick up at the deli.
What’s the best Costco party platter?
The croissant sandwiches and chicken Swiss rollers are fan favorites.
The Bottom Line
If you need to feed a lot of people without spending a lot of money, Costco catering is the way to go. Where else can you get a sushi platter that serves 24 people for just $1.54 per person? But don’t expect Costco to do everything for you. Given the retailer’s low-tech ordering system, the need for 24 hours of notice, and the lack of a delivery option, there’s no way around it: You’ll eventually have to head to the warehouse. If convenience is what you’re looking for, check out Sam’s Club, where they’ll actually deliver their party platters. Either way, both warehouse chains can feed a small army with their affordable selection of platters and trays.