Does El Pollo Loco Take EBT?

El Pollo Loco, known for its Mexican-style grilled chicken, has become a popular dining choice for many. With the increasing reliance on Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards for purchases, a common question arises: Does El Pollo Loco accept EBT? This article delves into the specifics of using EBT at El Pollo Loco, including eligibility, what you can buy, location specifics, and the payment process.

Does El Pollo Loco Take EBT?

Yes, El Pollo Loco accepts EBT at 222 restaurants from their total locations and most of these locations are form California and Arizona. So just inquire before ordering something from the restaurant. EBT acceptance largely depends on whether the restaurant is part of the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP), a state-specific initiative that allows SNAP beneficiaries to purchase hot, prepared foods. Generally, fast-food restaurants do not accept EBT for payment unless the state and the restaurant participate in the RMP.

Who Can Buy El Pollo Loco with EBT?

EBT cardholders who are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) might be eligible to use their benefits at El Pollo Loco if they reside in a state that participates in the RMP and if they meet certain criteria, such as being elderly, disabled, or homeless. The RMP is designed to accommodate individuals who may not have the means to prepare meals at home.

What Can You Buy with EBT at El Pollo Loco?

If an El Pollo Loco location accepts EBT through the RMP, cardholders can purchase hot, prepared meals. This is an exception to the general rule that EBT cannot be used for hot, ready-to-eat foods. Eligible purchases include any of El Pollo Loco’s menu items, from their signature grilled chicken to burritos and salads, provided the transaction is made in a participating state and location.

You can enjoy the follow food items with the help of EBT:

  1. Burritos
  2. Salads
  3. Desserts
  4. Fire-Grilled Combos
  5. Chips & Guac
  6. Tostadas
  7. Drinks
  8. Quesadillas
  9. Beans
  10. Rice
  11. Chicken Meals
  12. Bowls
  13. Street Tacos
  14. Mac & Cheese
  15. Soups
  16. Starters

Which El Pollo Loco Locations Take EBT?

EBT acceptance at El Pollo Loco locations is limited to those in states with an active RMP. As of now, only a few states, including Arizona and California, participate in the RMP. Even within these states, not all El Pollo Loco restaurants may participate. It’s essential to contact the specific location to confirm their participation in the program.

Why Doesn’t Every El Pollo Loco Take EBT?

The primary reason not every El Pollo Loco accepts EBT is due to the limited adoption of the RMP. The program’s availability varies by state, and within participating states, it’s up to individual restaurants to opt-in. Additionally, there are logistical and regulatory hurdles that restaurants must overcome to accept EBT, including technology integration and compliance with state-specific SNAP guidelines.

How Do I Pay with EBT at El Pollo Loco?

Paying with EBT at El Pollo Loco involves a few simple steps, similar to using a debit card. First, ensure the location accepts EBT and is part of the RMP. At checkout, swipe your EBT card through the card reader, select “EBT” from the payment options, and enter your PIN. Remember, only SNAP-eligible items can be purchased with EBT, and this transaction will be subject to the rules of the RMP in your state.


While El Pollo Loco’s acceptance of EBT is limited and varies by location, understanding the nuances of the RMP and state participation can help SNAP beneficiaries determine where and how they can use their benefits. For the most accurate and current information, it’s recommended to contact your local El Pollo Loco restaurant or check with your state’s SNAP office. As the RMP expands, more locations may begin to accept EBT, offering greater flexibility for SNAP recipients seeking hot, prepared meals.

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