Costco plans to bring back free food samples

An employee fills cups with samples of lemonade at a store in San Antonio, Texas, U.S., on Wednesday. (Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Costco’s smorgasbord of free food samples will return next month after being temporarily suspended due to health concerns over the novel coronavirus.

The big-box retailer said on its quarterly earnings call Thursday that the free snacks, a signature at the supermarket giant, are slated to resume in mid-June. The experience, however, will be different than what customers have been used to.

“We're going to start doing some things in mid-June on a slow rollout basis in sampling,” Costco Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti told analysts. “I can't tell you any more, but needless to say it’s not going to be where you go and just pick up an open sample with your fingers."

Related: Florida's hurricane prep tax holiday begins Friday

The chain retailer temporarily shuttered stores on April 6 as a result of statewide COVID-19-related closures resulting in thousands of layoffs for its sales associates and warehouse workers.

And the store, like many other retailers, has had to pivot its shopping experience by cutting hours, offering a limited menu for takeout only at its food courts and is requiring shoppers to wear masks.

The mandate for shoppers to wear masks in stores, however, was not well received by some customers who threatened to cancel their memberships on social media.

Read updates at