What Is The Restaurant Meals Program? 

restaurant meals program
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What Is The Restaurant Meals Program? 


In this community resource guide, you will learn about the Restaurant Meals Program.

If you are a food stamp recipient and interested in using your EBT card to buy fast food, you must understand how the Restaurant Meals Program works.

Continue reading to learn what the Restaurant Meals Program is and how you can potentially use it to buy hot food at fast food restaurants in your state.

What Is The SNAP Restaurant Meals Program?

The Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) is a government-sponsored program that allows fast food restaurants to accept payments from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

This program allows specific low-income Americans to purchase meals at participating fast food restaurants.

How Does The RMP Work?

To purchase fast food at a restaurant in your state, you state must participate in the EBT Restaurant Meals Program. Not every state in the USA has a Restaurant Meals Program, which means this program may not be available to you if you have food stamp benefits.

Currently, there are only 6 states that “fully” participate in the RMP. There are others states where certain counties or zip codes allow you to purchase fast food with EBT benefits. In this next section, you’ll learn about the states that participate in the Restaurant Meals Program EBT.

Which States Participate In The Restaurant Meals Program?

The following states allow you to use food stamps to purchase fast food:

There may be some counties, cities, and zip codes that do not allow you to buy fast food with SNAP benefits in the states above. That being said, in general, most areas in these states will allow you to buy hot food with food stamps.

Editor’s Note: This list above is accurate as of February 21, 2022.

States That Do Not Allow You To Buy Fast Food With EBT

There are some states on the list below that have zip codes or counties where you can purchase fast food with food stamps, but for the majority of residents in these states, you cannot use EBT to buy fast food.

What Are The Qualifications To Buy Fast Food With SNAP?

To qualify to purchase fast food with EBT you must be eligible for food stamps, have a card, live in a state that participates in the Restaurant Meals Program, and either be 1. a senior 60 years or older 2. have a disability, or 3. be homeless.

Where Can I Find Fast Food Restaurants That Take Food Stamps Near Me?

The following are three methods to locate the fast food restaurants in your area that accept EBT:

  1. Using the Providers app to look for food stamp friendly restaurants and locations.
  2. The SNAP Retailer Locator website can be used to locate a fast food restaurant.
  3. Looking for the “We Accept EBT” sign on the window.

1.) Using The Providers App To Find Fast Food Restaurants That Accept Food Stamps

You can use this link to download the Providers app. In addition to showing you fast food places that accept EBT you can also keep track of your current food stamp balance.

Once you have installed the food stamp app on your phone, hit the “3 horizontal lines” in the left corner to see a dropdown menu. Select map and your screen will look like the screenshot below.

how to find fast food restaurants that accept ebt

If there are fast food restaurants near you that accept EBT they will show up on your map.

2.) Find Fast Food Places That Accept EBT With The SNAP Retailer Locator Tool

This tool can be found on the USDA Food and Nutrition Services website. You simply enter your zip code that the tool will show you a map and listing of retailers that accept SNAP benefits.

This even includes fast food restaurants if you live in a state that participates in the EBT hot meal program.

How To Find Fast Food Restaurants That Accept Food Stamps Near Me

3.) Look For The We Accept EBT Signs On The Window

This is a simpler way to find the fast food locations that accept food stamp benefits. Just look for any signage that reads “We Accept EBT”.

we accept ebt signs

If you live in one of the 6 states that participate in the Restaurants Meals Programs, these signs shouldn’t be hard to find.

Conclusion

The Restaurant Meals Program is a SNAP program that allows people who are on food stamps to purchase fast food with their EBT card.

To buy fast food at places like McDonalds, Subway, or KFC with your EBT card the state you live in must participate in the Restaurant Meals Program.

Currently, only these states (as a whole) allow you to buy fast food with SNAP benefits:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia

Even if your state does not participate in the RMP, you can find stores near you that accept food stamps by downloading the Providers app or using the SNAP Retail Locator tool.

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