Need Quick Cash?
Get up to $35,000
As fast as 24 Hours. Simple Application Process.
Request Cash Now!

The Restaurant Meals Program is a transformative initiative that has redefined the dining landscape, offering unparalleled access to nutritious meals for eligible individuals across the country. Designed to leverage Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, this program allows qualified participants to enjoy the convenience and culinary excellence of restaurant-quality meals at approved establishments.

Understanding the Restaurant Meals Program

The roots of the Restaurant Meals Program can be traced back to the inception of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, in the late 1960s. Initially, SNAP primarily focused on providing low-income individuals and families with financial assistance to purchase groceries. However, as societal needs evolved and access to nutritious meals became a pressing concern, the concept of allowing SNAP beneficiaries to use their benefits at restaurants gained traction.


The objectives of the Restaurant Meals Program are multifaceted, encompassing both social and nutritional dimensions:

  • Access to Nutritious Meals: The primary objective of the program is to ensure that SNAP beneficiaries have access to nutritious meals prepared by participating restaurants. By expanding dining options beyond traditional grocery stores, the program seeks to enhance dietary diversity and promote healthier eating habits.
  • Promotion of Social Inclusion: Another key objective is to promote social inclusion and community engagement among vulnerable populations. Dining out at restaurants allows individuals to partake in social activities, interact with others, and enjoy a sense of normalcy and belonging.
  • Enhanced Convenience: Convenience is a cornerstone of the Restaurant Meals Program. By offering ready-to-eat meals at approved establishments, the program eliminates barriers such as meal preparation and cooking, saving time and effort for busy individuals and families.
  • Support for Local Businesses: Additionally, the program aims to support local restaurants and businesses by providing them with a reliable revenue stream and exposure to a broader customer base. Participating restaurants benefit from increased patronage and visibility within the community.

Eligibility Criteria

The Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) is a benefit attached to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that allows qualified individuals to use their SNAP benefits at authorized restaurants. However, not all states or SNAP recipients qualify.

Here's a breakdown of eligibility:

For SNAP recipients:

  • Be a resident of a state that offers the RMP. Not all states participate in the program.
  • Be an active SNAP beneficiary in good standing.

For household members:

  • At least one member of the household must be:
    • 60 years or older (elderly)
    • Disabled (receives disability benefits)
    • Homeless
  • Spouses of SNAP recipients who meet the above criteria can also be eligible.

To find out if your state offers the RMP:

  • You can contact your local SNAP agency.
  • You can use the USDA's SNAP Retailer Locator tool, but be sure to filter for "Restaurant Meals Program" instead of just "SNAP retailers".

Additional Notes:

  • Even if your state offers the RMP, you'll still need to meet the program's specific requirements.
  • Restaurants participating in the RMP must offer meals at concessional prices.

How to Find Participating Restaurants in the Restaurant Meals Program

  1. Contact your local SNAP agency: This is a reliable way to get the most up-to-date information on participating restaurants in your area. They can provide you with a list or direct you to a resource with this information.
  2. Use the SNAP Retailer Locator: The USDA's SNAP Retailer Locator tool can be a helpful starting point, but you'll need to use it with a specific filter. Here's what to do:
    • Access the SNAP Retailer Locator
    • In the search filters, be sure to choose "Restaurant Meals Program" instead of the default "SNAP retailers." This will specifically search for restaurants authorized for the RMP.

Additional Tips:

  • Some states may have their own online directory of participating RMP restaurants. You can find this information by searching for "[Your State Name] Restaurant Meals Program" online.
  • While not an official source, some SNAP advocacy organizations may compile lists of participating restaurants. However, it's important to double-check this information with a reliable source like your local SNAP agency.
  • Participating restaurants often display signage with the EBT or SNAP logo in their windows, but this isn't always the case. It's best to confirm their participation before heading there.
How Participating Restaurants Can Join the Restaurant Meals Program

Here's how participating restaurants can join the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP):

Important Note: The key thing to remember is that the RMP is a state-run program, so the specific requirements and application processes will vary depending on your location.

General Steps (might differ by state):

  1. State Participation: First, confirm that your state even offers the RMP. You can find this information by contacting your state's SNAP agency or searching online for "[Your State Name] Restaurant Meals Program".
  2. Contact Your State SNAP Agency: This is the starting point. They will have details on the program's specific requirements for restaurants in your state and the application process.
  3. Approval Process: Generally, there will be a two-step approval process:
    • State Approval: You'll need to get approval from your state agency responsible for the RMP. This might involve submitting an application and meeting specific criteria (e.g., menu offerings, pricing).
    • Federal Authorization: Once approved by the state, you'll need authorization from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to accept SNAP benefits at your restaurant. This typically involves submitting a completed FNS 252-2 application.


  • USDA RMP Information: While the specifics are at the state level, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) offers some general information on the RMP for restaurants.
  • Contact Your State SNAP Agency: This remains the most reliable source for details on your state's RMP program and the application process for restaurants.

Additional Tips:

  • Some states might have online resources or workshops specifically for restaurants interested in joining the RMP. Look for information on your state SNAP agency's website.
  • Joining the RMP can expand your customer base and reach a new segment of potential diners. However, it's important to understand the program's requirements and any associated costs before applying.
Impact of Restaurant Meals Program on Community Health and Well-being

The Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) has the potential to positively impact community health and well-being in several ways, though research is still ongoing to fully understand the extent. Here's a breakdown of the potential benefits:

Improved Dietary Intake:

  • Access to Nutritious Meals: The RMP allows participants, particularly vulnerable populations like the elderly and disabled, to access hot meals outside the home. This can be especially helpful for those who may struggle to cook for themselves or lack access to healthy groceries.
  • Variety in Diet: Participation in the program can introduce participants to new and potentially more nutritious meal options compared to what they might be able to prepare at home.

Enhanced Social Connections:

  • Shared Dining: The RMP can encourage eating out, which can foster social interaction and combat feelings of isolation, particularly among seniors. Shared meals can strengthen social bonds and provide opportunities for community building.

Increased Well-being:

  • Reduced Food Insecurity: Access to meals through the RMP can help alleviate food insecurity and its associated stress. This can lead to improved overall well-being and mental health.
  • Convenience and Independence: The program offers a convenient way to use SNAP benefits, potentially increasing dietary intake and reducing reliance on unhealthy meal options. This can contribute to a sense of independence and improved quality of life.

Limitations and Considerations:

  • Program Availability: Not all states offer the RMP, limiting its reach.
  • Restaurant Selection: The variety and nutritional quality of meals offered by participating restaurants can vary significantly.
  • Stigma: There may be a stigma associated with using SNAP benefits in restaurants, which could deter some eligible individuals from participating.

Overall, the Restaurant Meals Program offers a promising approach to improving community health and well-being, particularly for vulnerable populations. However, further research is needed to fully understand the program's long-term impact and identify areas for improvement.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP)?

The Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) is a benefit attached to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that allows eligible individuals to use their SNAP benefits at authorized restaurants to purchase hot meals.

Do I need a special card to use SNAP benefits at restaurants?

No. You can use your regular EBT card issued for SNAP benefits at authorized RMP restaurants.

Are there any restrictions on what I can buy with SNAP benefits at restaurants?

Yes. Participating restaurants must offer meals at concessional prices, and you cannot purchase groceries or cold food items with your SNAP benefits.

Are there any fees associated with using SNAP benefits at restaurants?

The Restaurant Meals Program itself doesn't have any fees. However, the restaurant may charge regular sales tax on your meal purchase.

What are the benefits of the Restaurant Meals Program?

The RMP can improve access to nutritious meals, increase dietary variety, and combat social isolation, especially for vulnerable populations.

Are there any drawbacks to the Restaurant Meals Program?

Not all states offer the program, and the quality of meals at participating restaurants can vary. Additionally, there may be a stigma associated with using SNAP benefits in restaurants.

How can restaurants participate in the Restaurant Meals Program?

The process varies by state, but generally, restaurants need to get approval from their state SNAP agency and the federal Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Contact your state SNAP agency for details.

Can I use my SNAP EBT card to buy groceries at restaurants participating in the RMP?

No, the RMP is specifically for purchasing hot meals for immediate consumption at authorized restaurants. You cannot use your SNAP EBT card to buy groceries at these restaurants.

Do restaurants participating in the RMP have special requirements?

Yes, restaurants in the RMP program must generally offer meals at concessional prices to comply with program guidelines.

Are there any restrictions on what I can buy with my SNAP benefits at RMP restaurants?

Yes. Participating restaurants must offer meals at concessional prices, and you can typically only purchase hot, prepared meals for immediate consumption. You cannot buy groceries or takeout with your SNAP benefits at RMP restaurants.

Latest Articles
Costco EBT Membership Discount: The Secret to Affordable Bulk Shopping (It's Not What You Think!)

Costco EBT membership discount isn't a traditional discount, but a smart strategy! By using your EBT card to purchase a Costco Shop Card, you can turn your benefits into store credit to unlock the warehouse club's treasure trove of discounted bulk groceries.

Read More
Unemployment PA: How to Get Financial Assistance While You Job Hunt

Lost your job in Pennsylvania? Don't worry. Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation (UC) offers temporary financial assistance while you focus on your job search and get back on your feet.

Read More
Childcare Subsidy Program: Eligibility, Benefits, and How to Apply

The Childcare Subsidy Program, also known as Child Care Assistance (CCA) or Child Care Services (CCS), is a helping hand for working families. It offers financial aid to low-income families to cover childcare costs, allowing parents to pursue work or education goals while their children receive quality care in a safe environment.

Read More
envelopemap-marker linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram