It Turns Out Costco Is One Of The Largest Pizza Chains In The US

A box of Costco pizza
A box of Costco pizza - grandbrothers/Shutterstock

Most Costco members visit the warehouse mainly for its wide selection of affordable bulk products. From jumbo packages of paper towels and coffee grounds to chocolate chip cookies and salmon fillets, there are many products to choose from. Still, groceries are far from the only thing Costco has to offer, and some people might enjoy this store more for its other exciting wares like big TVs and flashy jewelry -- or even for its beloved food court.

While Costco's food court might not seem like the main reason people sign up for a membership, it's not an entirely irrelevant resource to shoppers. In fact, Costco's food court has become ubiquitous, and as it turns out, Costco is one of the largest pizza chains in the United States.

Costco boasts over 600 locations nationwide and has nearly 130 million members worldwide. For comparison, other popular pizza chains like California Pizza Kitchen claims roughly 140 U.S. locations, Cici's Pizza has 280,  and Sbarro has 328. So, Costco has the numbers, but it's not just the wide availability of locations that keeps shoppers coming back for more.

Read more: All The Benefits Of A Costco Membership

Why People Love Costco's Pizza

Customers in line at the Costco food court
Customers in line at the Costco food court - The Image Party/Shutterstock

Many Costco members love the food court, and its popularity is only growing. Looking at the numbers, most locations sell huge pizza slices for just $1.99 each, and that continued affordability could be a significant factor behind its success. Plus, since many pizza chains don't sell by the slice, the chain offers an easy way for shoppers to indulge. For those who want something for the whole family, Costco's food court sells 18-inch pies for around $9.95. Toppings include cheese or pepperoni; if you can't decide, you can get half-and-half. You can even order your pie before you start shopping and request it done at a set time, so you don't have to wait for a whole pie to cook. It'll be ready to eat by the time you've gone through your grocery list.

That ease of being able to get both groceries and a delicious pizza all in one place could be another factor contributing to Costco's unexpected success as a pizza chain. So, while Costco might not be able to rival the absolute biggest pizza providers like Pizza Hut or Domino's (which both boast well over 6,000 locations nationwide), it does hold its own in the lineup of other pizza restaurants.

The reasons for this pizza's popularity extends beyond the low prices too. Some of it is due to the impressive way Costco makes its beloved pies.

How The Costco Pizza Is Made

A pump dispenses tomato sauce onto pizza dough
A pump dispenses tomato sauce onto pizza dough - Youtube

While Costco might not be known for its pizza, that doesn't mean the chain hasn't put a lot of thought into its pie-creation process. In fact, Costco has ensured that every one of its pizzas comes out the same each time by turning its pizza-making process into an exact science.

The chain's pizza dough comes from a New York distributor and is given plenty of time to rise before being baked. After it's risen, a sleek robot arm applies sauce to the dough in an even layer. Then, each pie is topped with a whopping amount of cheese and stuck through a conveyor belt oven to cook. The pizza is then baked to perfection in just six minutes. Finally, it's ready to go. This whole process is the same at every Costco location, so each time you eat a slice of its pizza, it should taste the same. Bonus: You'll know this pizza is fresh, too, because any slice that isn't sold within the hour is tossed out and replaced. All this freshness and uniformity for just $1.99 a slice -- it's no wonder it's so popular.

If you're a Costco member who's impressed by the thought put into the pizza, don't stop your culinary adventures there. Consider trying more options from Costco's ever-popular food court. Many members love the food selection here, and Costco's food courts even bring in almost $1 billion in sales for the chain annually.

Other Popular Picks From The Costco Food Court

The Costco food court menu
The Costco food court menu - Smith Collection/gado/Getty Images

Costco's status as one of the largest pizza chains aside, its food court is also well-regarded for its affordable hotdogs. For just $1.50, customers can enjoy a hot dog meal complete with toppings and a 20-ounce fountain drink. For reference, other hot dog chains like Sonic or Dairy Queen sell their hot dogs for almost double the price -- and that's before drinks, too. Some Costco members took to Reddit to share how good of a deal its hot dog really is, with many dubbing it one of the few modern fast food deals that is actually cheaper than making something for yourself at home. This pick is just as popular as the chain's pizza offerings, too, and Costco sells even more hot dogs than all the Major League Baseball stadiums.

Other popular picks from Costco's food court include its iconic chicken bake, which is unique to the chain, ice cream cups and sundaes, cinnamon churros, and more. So, Costco might fit the bill if you need some groceries and a quick meal.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.