Dawn Papandrea | 

Costco Catering Costs Less Than $2 a Person — Here's How To Order

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Hosting a party or small gathering? Costco Catering might be your best option for feeding a crowd on the cheap with ready-made party platters. Even though the Costco Catering menu has only three options, you can end up paying as low as $1.67 - $2.67 per person with one of their platters.

But picking up a Costco party tray will require a little advance planning on your part, since the process isn't as simple as ordering off the Costco Food Court menu. And they'll need a little advanced notice to prepare them.

Let me teach you exactly how to use Costco Catering for your next party or special occasion.

And if you want cakes and desserts to feed a crowd, we can teach you a few of our favorite Costco Bakery secrets, plus recommend some Costco premade meals worth buying (like salads and mac 'n' cheese).

For more smart shopping tips and savings hacks, download the KCL app or text HACKS to 57299.

What is Costco Catering?

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Costco Catering is a service available to all Costco members that lets you place advance orders for made-to-order party platters. There are only three party platter options as of February 2024.

To place your order, you'll fill out a paper form in the Costco Deli at least 24 hours in advance.

How to Order Through Costco Catering

First things first — you can't order Costco party trays online. You'll have to place your orders in-person by filling out a paper order form in the Costco Deli. (It's a similar process to how you order Costco sheet cakes from the Costco Bakery.)

If you don't want to trek over to Costco to place your order, try calling your local store instead. Choose the option for the Deli department, explain what you need to the associate, and they'll most likely accept your order over the phone.

How to order in-store:

  1. Look for the in-store kiosk that says "Order Party Platters Here" or "Deli Order Selection." (It's typically near the Deli or Bakery.)

  2. Fill out a form with the party platters you need, your contact information, and the deadline (they request at least 24 hours' advance notice).

  3. Slip your form into the slot on the submission box.

  4. Return to the Deli at the designated time to pick up your order.

  5. Pay for your order in the regular checkout lines.

What Foods Can You Get Through Costco Catering?

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The Costco Catering menu is small but mighty. The Costco Catering menu has three types of party platters:

  1. Fruit, Meat & Cheese Platter ($39.99, feeds 18 - 24 people): Includes slices of Italian salami and soppressata, red and green grapes, plus cubes of aged cheddar and aged Gouda. Note: The meat comes in individual bags, so you'll need to take the time to unwrap them before serving.

  2. Shrimp Platter ($39.99, feeds 20 - 24 people): Includes 3.5 pounds of shrimp, plus lemon wedges and three containers of cocktail sauce for dipping.

  3. Artisan Bread Sandwich Platter ($49.99, 18 - 20 people): Includes an assortment of roasted chicken, salami, and roast beef sandwiches, topped with slow-roasted tomatoes, Swiss and cheddar cheeses, garlic herb aioli. The platter includes a container of Grillo's pickle chips.

Savings tip: You can pay the lowest per-person cost if you go with either the Fruit, Meat & Cheese Platter or the Shrimp Platter. But just keep in mind that the Fruit, Meat & Cheese Platter doesn't include with crackers, so you might want to budget a little extra for those.

The three options on the Costco catering menu and how much each platter costs per person.

Does Costco still have pinwheel sandwiches?

Sadly, not anymore! Costco used to have a few more options on the catering menu — like the fan-favorite Chicken & Swiss Pinwheel Platter ($39.99), a Croissant Sandwich Platter ($39.99), and a Meat & Cheese Platter ($26.99) — but shoppers reported that these options disappeared from the catering menu at the end of 2023.

So, no more pinwheel sandwiches, and no meat and cheese platter in 2024. The pinwheel sandwiches were replaced by the Artisan Bread Sandwich Platter ($10 more), and the meat and cheese platter was replaced with the Fruit, Meat & Cheese Platter ($13 more).

TIP: If you're looking for more variety at similar price points, you may find a larger number of party tray options at Walmart.

Frequently Asked Questions About Costco Catering

How much are fruit trays at Costco?

Costco doesn't have fruit trays with only fruit, but their Fruit, Meat & Cheese Platter costs $39.99 and includes red and green grapes, salami, soppressata, cheddar cheese cubes, and Gouda cheese cubes.

If you visit the Produce section at your local Costco, you may find pre-packaged Del Monte Fruit Bowl containers for $11.99 that include 3 pounds of fresh-cut pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, and grapes.

Do you need a membership for Costco Catering?

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Yes, you'll need a Costco membership to order their catering items. You'll need your membership card to get into the warehouse to place your order (and to pick it up), and you'll also need to include your membership number on the catering order form.

Related: Costco is cracking down on Costco food court membership rules in 2024.

The Bottom Line About Costco Catering

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For game-day munchies, family birthdays, PTA meetings, or other laid-back events, Costco Catering is a solid option. While their party platters consist of finger food fare — and they won't deliver to you — you can feed a crowd with freshly made food for a fraction of the cost you'd pay at a restaurant or from a private caterer.

But because Costco has very limited menu options — and no opportunity to modify or customize an order — you should look elsewhere for upscale affairs that need more of a banquet-style, hot entree presentation.

If you need a few more items than what they offer, I recommend picking up some ready-made extras (like Costco's chocolate chip cookies or a premade salad) while you're picking up your order. These selections might not be as freshly prepared as your catering order (check the "packed on" date), but they're good in a pinch.

And if you're lucky enough to live near a Costco Business Center location, check their frozen section for a 120-count box of frozen Kirkland Signature cookie dough so you can bake your own desserts. My Costco Business Center location in Orlando, Florida sells these year-round for only $26.99 ($0.22 per cookie!).

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