Fast Food Restaurants that accept EBT Food Stamps

One of the questions we often get from our readers is whether there are restaurants that accept EBT. The answer is yes, but not everyone with an EBT card is allowed to use their card at fast food restaurants. You have to qualify for the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) and your state has to offer the RMP in order for you to be able to buy food at designated restaurants.

In this post, we will explain how the Restaurant Meal Program works, who qualifies for the RMP program, what states offer the program and what restaurants are approved in each state for accepting EBT Food Stamps.

"Fast Food Restaurants that accept EBT Food Stamps"

How the Food Stamps Program Currently Works

The Food Stamps Program, also known as SNAP benefits is a federally funded program that offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families. The program is run by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) but administered at the state level. If you want to sign up for food stamps, you have to apply through the agency in your state that runs the program.

There are strict eligibility requirements you have to meet to be approved for SNAP benefits, including income requirements. As of November 2018, there are 41 million people in the United States on Food Stamps.

Once approved, food stamps recipients are issued an EBT card, which is a debit card that allows them to purchase foods that are on the approved list at approved merchant locations.

What You Can Currently Buy with SNAP

If you are currently receiving food stamps, you are allowed to buy food that you plan to take home and prepare at home to eat. That excludes hot food or buying food at restaurants. However, there are exceptions, which we will explain below.

Here is what you are allowed to buy with your EBT Card:

  • breads and cereals;
  • fruits and vegetables;
  • meats, fish and poultry; and
  • dairy products.
  • Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.

You are not allowed to use your EBT Card to purchase the following items.

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
  • Any nonfood items, such as:
  • pet foods
  • soaps, paper products
  • household supplies
  • Vitamins and medicines
  • Food that will be eaten in the store
  • Hot foods

Restaurant Meal Program

"Restaurants that accept EBT Food Stamps"

As mentioned above, there are exceptions to the approved SNAP food list. In some areas, restaurants can be authorized to accept SNAP benefits from qualified homeless, elderly, or disabled people.

Since 1977, the Restaurant Meals Program has been an important part of the food stamps program. It enables qualified elderly, disabled and homeless SNAP recipients to buy food at authorized restaurants. Any state or county can enroll in the Restaurant Meals Program.

The purpose of the program is to help expand food access to those who do not have a place to store and cook food, who may not be able to prepare food or who don’t have access to a grocery store.

 

Who is Eligible for Restaurant Meals Program?

As mentioned, the Restaurant Meals Program is an exception to the rule regarding what you can buy with your EBT card. Here are the categories of people who are eligible for the program:

Homeless

For a homeless person to be eligible, the person/household must lack a fixed and regular nighttime residence or be living in a shelter, halfway house, or a place not designed for sleeping. This includes those who are temporarily staying in the home of another person (90 days or less).

Elderly

To be eligible, the elderly person/household must have only members who are 60 or older, or an elderly individual and his or her spouse.

Disabled

To be eligible, the person/household must have only members who are designated disabled by a government entity, or a disabled individual and his or her spouse.

Elderly or Disabled

To be eligible for the Restaurant Meals Program, the individual/household must have only members who are age 60 or older or designated as disabled by a government entity, or an elderly or disabled individual and his or her spouse.

Fast Food Restaurants that accept EBT Food Stamps Near Me

The following states participate in the Restaurant Meals Program and we have listed below the specific restaurants that accept EBT in each state.

Arizona

  • 24th st Pizza & Gyros
  • Blimpie
  • Burger Shoppe
  • CiCi’s Pizza
  • Dairy Queen
  • Denny’s
  • Dominos Pizza
  • Eegees
  • El Pollo Loco
  • Fat Sub
  • Firestone Subs
  • Golden Corral
  • Harris and Smith Coffee Company
  • Helpings Cafe and Market
  • Jack in the Box
  • Jimmy and Joe’s Pizzeria
  • KFC
  • Moon Light Family Restaurant
  • Papa Johns Pizza
  • Papa Murphy’s
  • Rally’s Hamburgers
  • Smoke Dem Bones BBQ
  • Speedy Street Tacos Corp
  • Subway
  • Taco Bell
  • Tasty Box
  • Uncle Sams
  • WaBa Grill

Participating Counties: Entire State

"Restaurants that accept EBT in Arizona"

California

  • Burger King
  • Carl’s Jr.
  • Church’s Chicken
  • Del Taco
  • Denny’s
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • El Pollo Loco
  • Great Steaks
  • Jack in the Box
  • Jamba Juice
  • KFC
  • Papa Murphy’s
  • Popeye’s
  • Pizza Hut
  • Quiznos
  • Rally’s Hamburgers
  • Subway
  • Taco Bell
  • Wendy’s
  • Wienerschnitzel

Participating Counties: Alameda County, Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, Sacramento County, San Diego County, San Francisco County, San Luis Obispo County, Santa Clara County, and Santa Cruz County.

"Fast Food Restaurants that accept EBT Food Stamps California"

Hawaii

We currently do not have a list of the restaurants participating in the program in Hawaii. We will update this post as soon as we are provided the list.

Participating Counties: Entire State

Rhode Island

Subway

Participating Counties: Entire State

How to Locate Participating Restaurants

The easiest way to locate participating restaurants in the RMP is to look for the signage that states “Participating Restaurant: SNAP Restaurant Meals Program” with the “Fork & Knife” logo displayed on the door or window. However, some fast food restaurant will simply display a sign saying “We Welcome EBT” or a variation of that as shown in the Pizza Hut sign below.

"Fast Food Restaurants that accept SNAP"

To use your EBT card to buy food at a restaurant, they will have to swipe it or run it through the point of sale machine, similar to how it is currently used at a grocery store.

Restaurants that DON’T take EBT Food Stamps

Here is the list fast-food restaurants that do not accept EBT, even in states that are participating in the Restaurant Meals Program:

A&W Restaurants
Arby’s
Chick-fil-A
Chipotle
Cinnabon
Dairy Queen
Dunkin’ Donuts
Einstein Bros. Bagels
Five Guys
Hardee’s
In-N-Out Burger
Krispy Kreme
Long John Silver’s
McDonald’s
Panda Express
Panera Bread
Qdoba Mexican Grill
Shake Shack
Starbucks
TCBY
Tim Hortons
Whataburger
Wingstop
WingStreet
Zaxby’s

For more on restaurants that accepts EBT, you can watch the video above from the ABC affiliate station in Arizona – ABC15.

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