11 Fast Food Restaurants That Accept EBT

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As the cost of food in the U.S. soars, more and more Americans are relying on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the largest federal nutrition assistance program. The program, which saw 41.5 million Americans enrolled in 2021, provides benefits to eligible low-income individuals and families by enabling them to purchase eligible food in authorized retail food stores via an Electronic Benefits Transfer card.

Read: 3 Easy Tips to Turn Your Credit Woes into Wows

Consumers may think that they can only use their SNAP benefits at traditional grocery stores, but they can actually use their EBT cards at a number of other places including Dollar General, 7-Eleven, and select drug stores like Walgreens. They can even use their EBT cards at the following fast food restaurants: 

  • Burger King
  • Carl’s Jr. 
  • McDonald’s 
  • Domino’s 
  • KFC
  • Little Caesars
  • Subway
  • Popeye’s 
  • Taco Bell 
  • Wendy’s 
  • El Pollo Loco   

Remember that SNAP benefits rules vary state by state. GOBankingRates has noted below in which states these fast food restaurants take EBT cards. None of these chains accept EBT cards in all 50 states. 

1. Burger King 

Burger King is the second largest hamburger chain in the U.S., after McDonald’s. It has more than 18,700 locations in more than 100 countries. Burger King accepts EBT cards in Arizona and California.

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2. Carl’s Jr. 

Serving customers since 1941, Carl’s Jr. has more than 1,000 locations across the U.S. and operates in 28 countries. Carl’s Jr. accepts EBT cards in Arizona and California. 

3. McDonald’s 

No other restaurant is as famous for fast food as McDonald’s, which was opened in 1955. The home of the Happy Meal takes EBT cards in Arizona, California and Michigan.

4. Domino’s 

Domino’s was originally called DomNick’s and rebranded as Domino’s in 1965. Today, there are more than 14,400 locations in more than 85 countries. Domino’s accepts EBT cards in Arizona and California. 

5. KFC

Fried chicken hasn’t been the same since a man named Harland Sanders came along with his secret recipe many moons ago. KFC accepts EBT cards for meal purchases in states that participate in the Restaurant Meals Program. This includes Arizona and California. Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Rhode Island and Virginia offer this program only in certain cities or counties. 

6. Little Caesars 

Little Caesars was actually founded by a pair named Mike and Marian. They poured their life savings into opening a little pizza store in Garden City, Michigan. Fast forward decades later and business is booming, with over 4,000 locations in the U.S. But only a few Little Caesars locations in San Diego, California take EBT cards. 

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7. Subway

Famed for its foot-long sandwiches, Subway operates more than 37,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. The fast food chain accepts EBT cards in Arizona, California and Rhode Island. 

8. Popeye’s

The beloved fried chicken chain opened 50 years ago in Louisiana and has spread its Southern loving across the world.  Popeye’s accepts EBT cards in Arizona and California. The chain also accepts EBT cards in select cities and counties in Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Rhode Island and Virginia. 

9. Taco Bell 

Back when Taco Bell was born in 1962, tacos sold for just 19 cents. Surely we’ve come a long way since then. But America hasn’t lost its appetite for this quasi-Mexican cuisine. Taco Bell has over 7,000 locations in the U.S. Select locations in Arizona and California take EBT cards. 

10. Wendy’s 

With more than 6,500 restaurants worldwide, Wendy’s has become a go-to fast food chain. Wendy’s does take EBT cards, but only in a handful of California counties. 

11. El Pollo Loco 

Opened back in 1980 and acquired by Denny’s, Inc. in 1983, El Pollo Loco now operates close to 500 locations across the U.S. El Pollo Loco locations in California and Arizona accept EBT cards.

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How Do I Apply for SNAP? 

Applying for SNAP benefits can be done online or by visiting a local SNAP office. You must meet certain eligibility requirements, depending on your location.

SNAP benefits are very particular depending on where you live. If enrolled in SNAP, before heading to a supermarket or fast food chain, it’s strongly recommended to check your state guidelines on what is and isn’t allowed, lest you waste a trip or budget for something your benefits don’t actually cover. 

Final Take

Consumers who participate in SNAP should be aware that they can pay for their fast food at a number of chains with their EBT cards — but only if they live in certain states, most commonly California and Arizona. Certain fast food chains have also expanded EBT card usage in Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Rhode Island and Virginia — but only in select cities or counties. 

FAQ

  • Can you buy hot food with an EBT card in California?
    • California is by far the most liberal state when it comes to EBT benefits, as it is the only one in which all 11 fast food restaurants on this list permit EBT card usage. That said, you cannot buy hot food with it from a supermarket.
  • Where else is EBT accepted in California?
    • EBT cards are widely accepted in California. You can use them to buy food on Amazon, as well as at a vast array of grocery vendors including:
      • ALDI
      • Brothers Marketplace
      • Cardenas Markets
      • ExtraMile by Jacksons
      • Food 4 Less
      • FoodMaxx
      • Gong's IGA Market
      • Jacksons Food Stores
      • Lucky Supermarkets
      • Mar Val Foods
      • Pavilions
      • Rancho San Miguel Markets
      • Safeway
      • Sam's Club Scan and Go
      • Save Mart Supermarkets
      • Sprouts Farmers Market
      • Stater Bros.
      • Super King Market
      • Superior Grocers
      • Target
      • The Market by Superior
      • Vons
      • Walmart
      • Whole Foods
    • But the best way to discover where you can use your EBT card in California, is to use this EBT locations map finder.
  • Where can I pay with an EBT card for fast food?
    • You can pay with EBT for fast food at the following chains in select states:
      • Burger King
      • Carl's Jr.
      • McDonald's
      • Domino's
      • KFC
      • Little Caesars
      • Subway
      • Popeye's
      • Taco Bell
      • Wendy's
      • El Pollo Loco
  • Can you buy hot food with an EBT card in Florida?
    • You cannot buy hot food with your EBT card in Florida.
  • What can I not buy with my EBT card in California?
    • In addition to hot food, you cannot buy:
      • Tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, etc.
      • Pet food
      • Alcohol
      • Non-food items, such as soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc.
      • Vitamins, medicines and dietary supplements
      • Prepared food intended for on-site consumption
      • Firearms, ammunition and explosives
      • Live animals
      • Gift baskets if the value of non-food items is over half of the purchase price
      • Fees -- including retailer fees for the delivery of food and grocery bag fees
  • Which counties can I buy restaurant food with an EBT card in California?
    • The California Restaurant Meals Program allows eligible homeless, disabled or elderly people -- ages 60 and above -- participating in CalFresh to use their CalFresh benefits to purchase hot, prepared food from partnering restaurants. Here's the list of California counties enrolled in the California Restaurant Meals Program:
      • Alameda County
      • Fresno County
      • Los Angeles County
      • Mariposa County
      • Monterey County
      • Orange County
      • Riverside County
      • Sacramento County
      • San Diego County
      • San Francisco County
      • San Luis Obispo County
      • Santa Clara County
      • Santa Cruz County
      • Siskiyou County
      • Tehama County

Information is accurate as of Dec. 19, 2022. 

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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