SFGov, the official site for San Francisco space
San Francisco header image

Human Services Agency of San Francisco
Department of Aging & Adult Services * Department of Human Services

print Print this page | Text size: small - large

What is the purpose of the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program?
Often people who are disabled, elderly and homeless have limited access to kitchens and/or limited ability to prepare food. The CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program is designed to offer warm/prepared meals for those people, and thereby to improve their nutrition.

Are there any fees that I must pay to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program?
We will process your application for FREE. The point-of-sale device, however, does have a small one-time charge, plus potential ongoing monthly service charges.

How will I benefit from the Program?
Participating in the Restaurant Meals Program makes your restaurant a resource for people who are eligible for the program. Most restaurants make well over $10,000 a year in new EBT purchases and some make $100,000 or more!

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

Do I have to fill out a separate contract for each location of a restaurant chain?
Yes, however most of the language can be copied.

How long does it take to become an authorized restaurant?
After you express interest, we will respond within 24 hours. Once you have submitted your documents to us, we send your application to the USDA. They will approve or deny it within 45 days.

What happens if a participating restaurant changes ownership or closes for business?
The restaurant owner must notify the CalFresh Program 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 or she must sign a new MOU with San Francisco CalFresh 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?
Your FNS approved Point-of-Sale (POS) device uses the phone line to automatically check if the swiped EBT card can be processed for the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program.

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, but who does have EBT cash portion on its card may use it at any sites with EBT equipment, even at the Restaurant Meals Program sites.

Can my restaurant allow a mixed transaction (EBT-Food CalFresh and EBT Cash combined)?
Yes, you may process a mixed transaction when an EBT cardholder, eligible for the program, informs the cashier that meal payment is EBT CalFresh and EBT Cash combined.

How can eligible CalFresh clients know that our restaurant is participating in the program?
Your restaurant name and address will be placed on a list of participating restaurants, which we distribute throughout the community. The list of participating restaurants can also be accessed through the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Web Page. Additionally, when you join the program, you can post a sign in your storefront advertising your participation in the program to potential customers.

How long does it take to be reimbursed for the Golden State Advantage (EBT) card meal purchases?
You are reimbursed usually with 48 hours.

What are the qualifications to join the Program?
Participating restaurants must provide low-cost meals during regular hours of operation to homeless, elderly and disabled customers at a price less than charged to its regular customers. Not all meals must be offered at a reduced price.
Can I register my corner or grocery store if we serve hot meals?
Yes, if your grocery store already accepts CalFresh benefits, you can apply for your restaurant to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program.

Does my restaurant need to be open for all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)?

Does my restaurant need to have a certain number of tables and chairs?
No, the only requirement is that chairs must be available for those purchasing food as part of the Restaurant Meal Program.

Will RMP clients be disruptive to my other customers?
We have operated this program for over 10 years in San Francisco and haven't had complaints about customer behavior from participating restaurants.

You can expect a high level of customer loyalty from your CalFresh customers, who are often grateful for the meals you are providing.