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Restaurant Meals Program
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Restaurant Owner FAQs

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What is the purpose of the Restaurant Meals Program?
Are there any fees that I must pay to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program?
I have more than one restaurant. Can I apply for all my restaurants to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program?
How long does it take to become an authorized restaurant?
How do I submit my application for the RMP to the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)?
What happens if a participating restaurant changes ownership or closes for business?
How do I know if a customer who provides a Golden State Advantage (EBT) card is eligible for the Restaurant Meals Program?
How can I handle a customer whose Golden State Advantage (EBT) card was denied when processed on the EBT/POS device?
Can I process an EBT cash transaction when an EBT cardholder, not eligible to participate in the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program, wants to use the EBT cash as payment for meals?
Can a participating restaurant allow a mixed transaction (EBT CalFresh and EBT cash combined)?
How can the eligible CalFresh recipient know that our restaurant is participating in the program?
How long does it take to be reimbursed for the Golden State Advantage (EBT) card meal purchases?

What is the purpose of the Restaurant Meals Program?

The CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program is a voluntary component of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  It enables elderly (age 60 or over), disabled and homeless CalFresh recipients to purchase prepared meals at participating restaurants.  Its goal is to provide a variety of nutritious meal choices to eligible CalFresh recipients.

Are there any fees that I must pay to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program?

There are no fees/dues that a restaurant owner must pay for the Restaurant Meals Program. There is also no charge for use of the wired State issued EBT equipment (via the State’s EBT vendor Xerox.)

However, there is an expense if you choose to utilize the portable, wireless State issued Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) equipment.  (Also available via the State’s EBT vendor Xerox.)

Note: If you choose to integrate EBT into your current commercial Point-of-Sale equipment, you will need to contact your vendor and ask about additional fees.

I have more than one restaurant. Can I apply for all my restaurants to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program?

Yes, you can apply for all your restaurants to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program.  Only one MOU is required for two or more restaurants under the same ownership.

How long does it take to become an authorized restaurant?

The entire process to become authorized takes approximately 60 to 90 days.  Click here to review the authorization process.

How do I submit my application for the RMP to the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)?

The County will submit your completed application, approved MOU and all supporting documentation to FNS.  You will be notified when your application has been approved.

What happens if a participating restaurant changes ownership or closes for business?

The restaurant owner must notify the County, and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) when a restaurant changes ownership or closes.  This ensures that the authorization is cancelled immediately since the previous owner's authorization is NOT TRANSFERABLE.  If the new owner wants to continue to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program, he/she must sign an MOU with the County and apply for authorization with the FNS.

How do I know if a customer who provides a Golden State Advantage (EBT) card is eligible for the Restaurant Meals Program?

The state issued Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) equipment or your updated EBT integrated Point-of-Sale (POS) device has an Automated Eligibility Identifier that enables you to automatically identify if an EBT card can be processed for the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program.  EBT cards work similar to debit and credit cards.

How can I handle a customer whose Golden State Advantage (EBT) card was denied when processed on the EBT/POS device?

You may inform the customer to contact the ACCESS Customer Service Center at 1-866-262-9881 or visit their local Family Resource Center.

Can I process an EBT cash transaction when an EBT cardholder, not eligible to participate in the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program, wants to use the EBT cash as payment for meals?

Yes, an EBT cardholder not eligible for the program, who does have an EBT cash account on their card, may use it at any site with EBT equipment, including Restaurant Meals Program sites.  However if the EBT cash account has a zero balance or has a balance lower than the transaction amount, the transaction will be denied.

Can a participating restaurant allow a mixed transaction (EBT CalFresh and EBT cash combined)?

Yes, you may process a mixed transaction when the EBT cardholder, eligible for both programs, informs the cashier that meal payment is EBT CalFresh and EBT cash combined.

How can the eligible CalFresh recipient know that our restaurant is participating in the program?

HHSA will provide you with a RMP decal for placement on your business’ door or window.  CalFresh recipients will be told to look for the logo to identify restaurants participating in RMP.  Additionally, your restaurant’s name and address will be placed on a list of participating restaurants, which will be available to eligible participants by calling 2-1-1, or emailing pubassist.HHSA@sdcounty.ca.gov.  Community organizations, community partners and advocates may also have lists available.  The list of participating restaurants can also be accessed through the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Web Page.

How long does it take to be reimbursed for the Golden State Advantage (EBT) card meal purchases?

EBT meals purchases are usually reimbursed within forty-eight hours.  If you have questions about EBT reimbursement, call the Retailer Helpline at (866) 328-4212.