Does Wendy’s Take EBT to Buy Fast Food? (4 Counties)

SNAP recipients regularly want to know if Wendy’s takes SNAP food stamps.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the anti-hunger program placed under the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). It’s designed to reduce hunger in the country by supplementing the food budget of low-income families and other less privileged groups like the elderly, the homeless, and people with disabilities. The federal financial assistance helps people afford balanced and nutritious foods needed to stay healthy.

For a smooth administration and wider reach, SNAP runs at the state level and uses Electronic  Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to distribute food stamp benefits and other forms of government aid like TANF and WIC for qualified recipients.

SNAP has strict rules and regulations that restrict where and what food stamp funds can be spent on. That means recipients cannot use their EBT cards to buy everything and anywhere. For instance, you can’t use your EBT card to buy hot and prepared food to be eaten on-site or splurge on alcoholic beverages like wine, beer, and spirits at Kroger, Publix, Walmart, or other nearby liquor stores.

Mostly, that’s what fast-food restaurants like Texas Roadhouse and McDonald’s sell —hot, ready-to-eat food and alcoholic beverages. But Wendy’s also sells several soft drinks and cold items like bread, bakery items, sandwiches, and salads that customers can eat on the go without further preparation at home. It’s because it aligns with SNAP’s general rules that you can buy snacks and food items to carry and cook at home.

Some states also participate in the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) that allows the elderly, people with disabilities, and the homeless to redeem their SNAP funds for hot and prepared foods at fast-food restaurants like Wendy’s.

That leaves millions of EBT cardholders wondering whether Wendy’s fast-food outlets accept EBT as a payment method.

So does Wendy’s accept SNAP food stamps?

Short Answer: Wendy’s only accepts EBT in California counties participating in the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP). Only six states, including California, Arizona, Michigan, Maryland, Illinois, and Rhode Island, participate in the RMP. However, Wendy doesn’t take EBT in all six states.

So far, only four counties in California have Wendy’s stores that accept EBT for in-store purchases, including Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Luis Obispo. To use your EBT card at Wendy’s, you must live in California and qualify for the CalFresh RMP per your state requirements.

That said, Wendy’s doesn’t accept EBT cards for online, in-app delivery, or pick up orders placed via DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, or Grubhub. So if you want to order Wendy’s food delivery or pickup from the comfort of your home, you’ll need an alternative payment card, like a debit/credit card with a chip.

Alternatively, you can pay cash on delivery or order from other fast-food places that accept EBT for delivery or pickup.

Related Read: Pizza Places That Take EBT.

About Wendy’s

Headquartered in Ohio, Wendy’s is the world’s third-largest hamburger fast-food chain, behind Burger King and McDonald’s. Wendy’s has over 6,700 restaurants spread across all 50 states; 353 are company-owned, and 6,358 are franchised.

Wendy’s is known for its square hamburgers, frosty beverages, and sea salt fries. The menu also has chicken nuggets, fresh-made salads, fries, sides, biscuits, breakfast combos, classics, croissants, coffee, beverages, and bakery items. Most locations have free Internet and a place where you can charge your phone for free.

A balanced meal at Wendy’s is a great way to rejuvenate the energy you need to build a six-figure nest egg or save a $10,000 emergency fund. In addition, you can use Wendy’s store locator to find a location open at night for late-night cravings. 

What Wendy’s Take EBT Near Me?

Local Wendy’s stores that accept EBT will depend on whether you reside in a state with a restaurant meals program. You may be fortunate to find a close Wendy’s that takes SNAP funds for cold food items, like a cookie, if your state doesn’t participate in the RMP. However, most fast-food restaurants that take food stamps are in states with the Restaurant Meals Program.

You’ll find Wendy’s restaurants that accept EBT if you live in California. However, remember that you have to be approved for the RMP to buy prepared and hot food at a Wendy’s location.

Wendy’s Stores That Accept EBT near me in California

California has Wendy’s restaurants that participate in the Restaurant Meals Program.

Here’s a list of counties in California that partake in the CalFresh RMP:

  • Los Angeles
  • Orange
  • San Diego
  • San Luis Obispo

Find a local Wendy’s location that accepts EBT by visiting the California EBT cardholder Portal. Then, select your county and type the keyword “Wendy’s” into the “retailer/bank name” field.

What Food Can’t You Buy at Wendy’s with Food Stamps?

SNAP doesn’t provide you the funds to spree on non-essential luxuries. For example, you can’t buy select items at Wendy’s with food stamps, even with the restaurant meals program.

SNAP will not let you buy the following things at Wendy’s with your benefits

  • Alcoholic drinks like beer, liquor, and wine

SNAP also doesn’t let you buy pet food, vitamins, feminine products, cleaning supplies, household products, and medicine when shopping at stores like Sam’s Club or Costco with your EBT benefits

Also, you can’t get cash back from your EBT card unless you receive additional government aid like TANF. But you can get cash back with a debit card at Walgreens and also CVS with any purchase.

How to Use EBT card at Wendy’s?

EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer. It’s a particular type of debit card used by the government to distribute food stamps, WIC, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to low-income families and other less privileged groups. Once you qualify to receive SNAP benefits in your state, an account is opened under your name, where the government reloads your SNAP funds every month.

To make it easier for you to access and spend your SNAP funds, your state mails you an EBT card that you use to make eligible purchases from approved retailers. Thus, you won’t have to find Quest ATMs that dispense $50, $1, $5, or $100 or drive to the bank to access your funds. 

The card comes locked with a 4-digit PIN that’s secret to you and functions as a regular debit card, following the Swipe and PIN payment processing method. The only difference is that you can use your debit card without a PIN, but you must PIN your EBT card to authorize payments. The PIN helps ensure that someone else doesn’t try to use a stolen debit card to their advantage.

To use your EBT card at Wendy’s, go to the checkout register and ask the cashier whether it takes SNAP cards. If yes, place your order and let the cashier know you’re paying with your EBT card. It’s essential so you won’t be charged any sales or meal taxes. Once your card is swiped, you’ll be prompted to enter your PIN to authorize the payment.

Frugal Reality Tip: You can’t use EBT at Wendy’s for delivery or pickup orders. Neither Wendy’s nor its delivery partners, including DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, and Grubhub, take EBT for online or in-app delivery or pickup orders. Instead, use an alternative payment card for online orders and save your food stamps for in-store purchases.

Related Read: Does KFC Accept EBT?

Why Most Wendy’s Restaurants Don’t accept EBT?

It comes down to SNAP rules and the Restaurant Meals Program. SNAP leaves it upon each state to decide whether or not to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP). So far, most states don’t extend SNAP benefits through the RMP to allow recipients to eat out at fast-food joints.

In those states, SNAP recipients cannot redeem their EBT funds on hot, prepared food at the point of sale. It can only be redeemed on grocery items that are carried and cooked at home. Thus, most Wendy’s food items aren’t eligible for SNAP purchases in non-RMP states.

Even in the six states that have RMP, restaurants must be approved for the program before accepting EBT. Therefore, it’s upon SNAP agencies in each state to decide what fast-food restaurants to approve and who qualifies for the program.

Even though Maryland, Illinois, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Arizona have RMP, Wendy’s isn’t an approved participant in most states. Only select counties in California allow Wendy’s to participate in the CalFresh RMP.

So unless you live in California and qualify for the CalFresh RMP, you won’t be able to use your EBT card at Wendy’s locations throughout the rest of the country. Even in California, you’ll still find some Wendy’s stores that don’t take EBT. For instance, there are about 283 Wendy’s restaurants in California, but only about 200 locations accept EBT. So be sure always to ask before you order anything.

The problem is less about Wendy’s but more about the SNAP rules concerning the RMP in your state.

That said, you may be lucky to find a nearby Wendy’s location that accepts EBT for cold food items and beverages that you can eat on the go or warm at home. But that’s usually at the discretion of the store manager and may only happen on rare occasions.

In a nutshell, using food stamps at Wendy’s comes down to these three minimum requirements:

  • Your state of residence: You must live in a state that extends SNAP through the Restaurant Meals Program.
  • Meet your state’s requirements: You must qualify for the RMP per your state’s requirements. RMP participants are usually the elderly (60+), people with disabilities, or the homeless.
  • Wendy’s RMP approval: Wendy’s must be approved to participate in your state’s Restaurant Meals Program.

Frugal Reality Takeaway: Most Wendy’s locations don’t take food stamps because most states don’t have an established RMP. Wendy’s restaurants take EBT only in select counties in California. So unless you live in California, you won’t be able to use your EBT card at Wendy’s throughout the rest of the country.

Related Read: Does Subway accept EBT?

What Fast Food Restaurants Take EBT in RMP States?

If there isn’t a Wendy’s restaurant that accepts EBT in your state, don’t panic. There are other fast-food places that accept EBT in California and other RMP-participating states.

Here’s a list of restaurants that take EBT in RMP participating states:

  • Blimpie
  • Burger King
  • Del Taco
  • Taco Bell
  • Dairy Queen
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • El Pollo Loco
  • Firehouse Subs
  • Burger Shoppe
  • Golden Corral
  • Hungry Howie’s
  • Jamba Juice
  • Papa John’s Pizza
  • Pizza Hut
  • Carl’s Jr.
  • Church’s Chicken
  • Quiznos
  • Subway
  • Golden Corral
  • Hungry Howie’s
  • Jack in the Box
  • Jamba Juice
  • Papa John’s Pizza
  • Pizza Hut
  • Taco Bell
  • Wendy’s

Related Read: Pizza Places That Take EBT.

Can You Pay Food Delivery Companies for Wendy’s with EBT?

Wendy’s offers food delivery and pickup services through DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Postmates. Unfortunately, you can’t pay food delivery companies for Wendy’s food with your EBT. In addition, neither Wendy’s nor its delivery partners accept EBT for online orders. 

Remember, the companies deliver hot, ready-to-eat food that cannot be purchased with EBT in most states. As such, they don’t qualify to participate in the USDA pilot program that enables SNAP recipients to use EBT to order groceries online.

That said, delivery and pickup services are available from participating Wendy’s locations in the United States with an alternative payment method. You can use your unexpired debit card or credit card to order hot hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, coffee, and more.

You can place your delivery or pick up order through the Wendy’s app, website, or one of their delivery partners. Simply enter your address to see a list of locations eligible for delivery or pickup orders in your area.

Recommended Read: Does Grubhub Accept Cash? (Pay Food Delivery With Cash)

Can Wendy’s Accept EBT Online?

No, Wendy’s doesn’t take EBT online. Also, the Wendy’s app doesn’t take EBT payments. EBT payments are only accepted for in-store purchases. So you won’t be able to order a salad or burger online or via the app with your EBT card.

To save your funds for eligible items, you’ll have to use a different payment method like a credit card, debit card, or Reliacard money. For example, you can use your EBT balance to buy protein powder or bagged ice at SNAP-approved stores. 

Also, Wendy’s doesn’t accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, nor PayPal. 

Using your EBT card for in-store purchases at Wendy’s is easy. Using SNAP funds is like a regular credit card. The difference is that you can use your debit card without a PIN, but you’ll need a PIN for your EBT. 

The easiest way to check your balance is to visit a Quest ATM nearby that dispenses $10 or call your local SNAP agency. 

Recommended read: Seafood places that accept EBT.

Does Wendy’s Serve Breakfast All Day?

No, Wendy’s doesn’t serve breakfast all day. The cut-off breakfast hours vary among Wendy’s restaurants, but most start serving breakfast at 6:30 am and end at 10:30 am.

If you want breakfast delivered at home or your office, enter your delivery address in the app or choose one of their delivery partners to see if the service is available in your area. For example, most Wendy’s locations start breakfast delivery at 8 am.

The majority of Wendy’s remain open between 6:30 and close between 1 am to 3 am. To avoid the guesswork, use the Wendy’s store locator to determine the exact breakfast near you.

Jack in the Box is your go-to place if you want to find a place that serves breakfast all day. If you find a suitable location nearby, you can order what you want when you want it. See our guide on 24-hour stores and restaurants near me for more places that serve breakfast all day.

Does Wendy’s Use Peanut Oil?

No, Wendy’s doesn’t use peanut oil. Instead, they use corn oil and palm oil. However, select menu items may contain tree nuts. There’s also the possibility that some of their products come into contact with nuts through cross-contamination during manufacturing. 

If you’re allergic to peanuts, always inform the server about your allergies to reduce cross-contamination with your meal.

Related Read: Does Aldi Take EBT SNAP Card? Online? Curbside Pickup? Apple Pay or Google Pay?

Does Wendy’s Take EBT Summary

Although six states participate in the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP), you’ll only find about 200 Wendy’s locations that accept EBT in five California counties, including Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, and San Luis Obispo.

You won’t be able to use your EBT card to buy hot, ready-to-eat meals at Wendy’s if you don’t live in California. Also, EBT isn’t an accepted method for online or in-app delivery or pickup orders. So be prepared with a different payment method if you want to order Wendy’s delivery from the comfort of your house.

Follow our link above or use Wendy’s store locator to find a nearby location in the above California counties. Make it a habit to carry some extra cash or a different payment card in case your balance runs low. The alternative payment methods will let you buy your favorite alcoholic drink at the nearby liquor stores since they’re not eligible.

Plus, Wendy’s is among the restaurants that hire 16-year olds and above. That makes it a great place not only to enjoy your SNAP funds but also for teens to work.