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The Street
The Street
Jena Warburton

Beloved shoe brand opens genius Costco-style food court (no membership required)

The third largest shoe company in the United States has an eye for trends, and now, it's taking that talent in a different direction. 

Skechers (SKX) -), which is the third-largest shoe company in the U.S. by revenue, knows that Americans like two things: comfortable footwear and a nice, cheap, steaming hot dog. 

DON'T MISS: Costco Bringing Back a Fan-Favorite Food Court Item

There aren't a lot of things we can agree on these days, but Costco (COST) -) knows that nothing brings all 331 million of us together like a $1.50 meal combo. 

It's a part of their brand, and it keeps members — who pay $60 per year just for the pleasure of shopping at the warehouse — coming back. 

Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal knows this. So when he was handing over the helm to current CEO Craig Jelinek, he warned him of the ramifications of messing with a good thing.

"If you raise the effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out," Sinegal warned Jelinek in 2009. Now, after 10 years, several recessions, a pandemic, and record-high food prices, that hot dog is still going strong at $1.50. 

It's a Cinderella story to be passed on for generations, and at this point, it's a part of our American DNA.

A Costco food court in Danville, Calif., July 3, 2022. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Skechers tries its hand (and feet) as a restaurateur 

Of course, not everyone belongs to Costco for the food court, but a significant portion enjoys the benefits. It sells an average of 151 million hot dogs a year, more than each MLB stadium combined. Those are mind-boggling numbers, so it's easy to understand why others might want to get in on the action. 

So Skechers, yes — the shoe brand — has introduced a nod to the beloved food court with its own Food Spot, located within its Gardena, Calif. store location. 

Nowhere does it actually say it's affiliated — or even based on — the Costco food court, but customers say it looks pretty similar upon close examination. 

The Food Spot opened in May and features some beloved and familiar specials, like hot dog combos and large slices of pizza at very reasonable (albeit slightly pricier than Costco) price points. 

And business has been good. Skechers co-founder Michael Greenberg estimates they serve about 2,000 patrons per week, and the reception to the in-store concept has been resounding.

"I think it just took everybody by surprise," Greenberg told local station KTLA. "I think in the beginning, there were people that were scratching their head saying, 'What is Michael doing?' And I could understand, you know, but this was my vision." 

The Skechers Food Spot has a 4.2 star rating on Yelp and 4.3 stars on Google. Reviewers have drawn comparisons between Costco the Gardena store location, even if the prices aren't quite the same. 

"The Hot Dog for example is $2.50 without a drink. Still a good deal. A drink is $1.00. As many may know, Costco doesn't make money on its food court. They consider it a service to its members," one Yelp user wrote. 

A Google reviewer, on the other hand, seems to be taking the term loyalty to heart. 

"I've been here 4 times in 4 days," they wrote, ranking the food 5/5 and the atmosphere a 4/5. 

With fan dedication like that, it's easy to understand why Sinegal took his Costco food court so seriously.

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