A restaurant in South Carolina has been accused of reselling Costco pizzas at a 700% markup as 'gourmet Roman-style thin crust pizza'

Costco food court cheese pizza

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

A Charleston, South Carolina restaurant may have been passing off Costco pizzas as gourmet pizzas.

  • A restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina may have been passing off $2 Costco pizzas as homemade pizzas and charging at least $18 for them, the Post and Courier first reported.
  • Coquin, a wine bar in Charleston, started selling $18 to $20 delivery pizzas last weekend. But customers and employees tipped off the Post and Courier, saying the pizzas were actually from Costco.
  • A Post and Courier reporter followed Coquin owner Chip Grimalda and found frozen Costco pizza boxes in the dumpster outside of Coquin. But when Grimalda was asked about the pizza, he reportedly said, "I don't know what you're talking about. It's definitely not Costco, and that's all I have to say."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

There's nothing unusual about an $18 to $20 gourmet pizza from an upscale wine bar. But there's definitely something unusual about passing off a $2 to $2.50 frozen pizza from Costco as an $18 to $20 gourmet pizza from an upscale wine bar.

That's what may have been happening at Charleston, South Carolina restaurant Coquin, the Post and Courier first reported.Advertisement

Coquin opened in October 2019 as a neighborhood tapas and wine bar. Since the coronavirus pandemic prompted sweeping restaurant shutdowns, Coquin, like many other restaurants, has pivoted to delivery. Grimalda told the Post and Courier that he hasn't had to lay off any employees yet, saying the staff is "all kind of busting our butts" to get by.

But this week, diners and Coquin employees tipped off the Post and Courier, saying the $18 to $20 pizzas that Coquin was selling for delivery were actually just frozen Costco pizzas.

Coquin started selling the pizzas on its website last weekend, marketing them on the restaurant's Instagram. The restaurant's owner, Chip Grimalda, says that Coquin has since sold around 20 pizzas a day.
Advertisement

 

A reporter from the Post and Courier watched Grimalda go from the restaurant to his private apartment after receiving a pizza-delivery order. Grimalda then left to deliver pizzas in boxes marked, "Fresh Pizza, Oven Baked."The reporter then found four-pack boxes for frozen Costco pizzas in the dumpster outside Coquin. A four-pack of Kirkland Signature Cheese Pizza with Breadcrumb Crusts costs around $10, or $2.50 per pizza. The mark-up if sold for $20 each? 700%.Advertisement

When asked if he was passing off Costco pizza as homemade, Grimalda told the Post and Courier reporter, "I don't know what you're talking about. It's definitely not Costco, and that's all I have to say."

Business Insider has reached out to Coquin for additional comment.

Advertisement

Get the latest coronavirus analysis and research from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is impacting businesses.

{{}}