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Does El Pollo Loco Take EBT?

Does El Pollo Loco Take EBT?

Does El Pollo Loco take EBT? Yes, at 222 specific locations around the United States! These restaurants are able to process SNAP EBT (food stamps) payments through the Restaurant Meals Program.

Before you run out and order that Original Pollo Bowl, though, you need to understand what this program is, who can use it, and where it works. Not everyone can purchase restaurant meals, and not every El Pollo Loco location is set up to process EBT payments.

There are a lot of rules to this program, but we’ll walk you through it all.

Does El Pollo Loco take EBT?

El Pollo Loco takes EBT at 222 restaurants, most of which are located in Arizona and California. Only these specific restaurants can process EBT payments so if you visit the wrong one, your payment will not go through.

If you’re disappointed that there isn’t one in your area, don’t worry! In recent years, many states have announced programs like this so it should be expanding to more areas soon.

What can you buy with EBT at El Pollo Loco?

You can use your SNAP EBT benefits to purchase food and beverages at El Pollo Loco, as long as you are eligible and visit the right locations. Since this is a restaurant, just about everything they sell should be considered EBT-eligible. Just don’t try to buy any merchandise or non-food items.

You should be able to enjoy their menu, including:

  • Chicken Meals
  • Tostadas
  • Fire-Grilled Combos
  • Burritos
  • Quesadillas
  • Street Tacos
  • Bowls
  • Starters
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Chips & Guac
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Desserts
  • Drinks

Of course, you’ll need to budget carefully since you won’t get any extra benefits through the Restaurant Meals Program. It’s easy to spend a lot at restaurants, but you need to be able to afford food throughout the rest of the month too. Use the mobile app and printed coupons to help you stretch your benefits farther.

Who can buy El Pollo Loco with EBT?

Only certain customers can use their benefits to purchase meals at El Pollo Loco. To do this, you have to meet all three criteria of the Restaurant Meals Program.

  1. You must live in a state with a Restaurant Meals Program.
  2. You must be unable to cook your own meals at home because you are elderly, homeless or disabled.
  3. You must purchase food from approved, participating locations.

The good news is that if you are eligible, your card should already work at the participating restaurants in your area. When processing your application, the caseworker should hHamave already enabled the Restaurant Meals Program for you. However, if that did not happen automatically and you believe that you are eligible, then you may need to follow up with the welfare office to get that fixed.

Which El Pollo Loco locations take EBT?

Each El Pollo Location must go through a detailed application and approval process before they can start processing these transactions. The state must individually approve each address of the chain so that they can be equipped with an EBT card processor.

That’s why it’s so important to double-check the address of any restaurant you plan to visit to make sure they are enrolled in the program.

I know this is complicated and it can be hard to track down all those addresses, so I’ve done the work for you. In the document below, you can find the address for every El Pollo Loco location that is currently set up to process EBT payments. The directory is organized alphabetically by state, county and city. It’s never been easier to find an El Pollo Loco that takes EBT near you.

Why doesn’t every El Pollo Loco take EBT?

There are several reasons why slightly less than half (46%) of El Pollo Loco restaurants take EBT.

First and most obviously, the Restaurant Meals Program isn’t available everywhere so some locations just aren’t eligible. Even eligible restaurants may have a hard time joining the program due to the rigorous standards and procedures required for a restaurant to join the program.

Some may also be worried about bad press from this controversial program. Unfortunately, many people have strong negative feelings about restaurant meals being purchased with food benefits and that’s made it difficult for this program to expand nationwide.

How do I pay with EBT at El Pollo Loco?

Checking out is easy! Just place your order and then swipe your card, exactly how you would if you were buying groceries at the supermarket.

Just remember that you have to swipe the card at the restaurant. You can’t place an online order or delivery order. You have to pick it up at the store.

FAQs about El Pollo Loco’s EBT Policies

Few people know about the Restaurants Meals Program, so it’s natural that you have questions. Here are some things you need to know.

Does El Pollo Loco take EBT?

Yes, 46% of El Pollo Loco locations can process SNAP EBT payments for eligible customers. We have a list of addresses and eligibility criteria at

Does El Pollo Loco take EBT food or cash?

Some locations can take both! In California, many restaurants that can process food benefits through the Restaurant Meals Program can also take EBT cash as well.

Does El Pollo Loco take EBT in the drive thru?

As long as you’re visiting one of the locations in our list, you should be able to pay with EBT in the drive-thru.

Nicole is the owner and lead researcher for Low Income Relief. She has over 20 years of professional research and writing experience, and she has been solely dedicated to investigating low income topics for the last 10 years. Nicole started Low Income Relief after a personal experience with poverty. When her husband was medically discharged from the US Army, their family experienced tremendous financial hardship. Nicole was able to gather help from multiple community agencies and move into a nearby low income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has been dedicated to helping low income families in crisis. She regularly spends hundreds of hours combing through countless resources to make sure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and complete resource directories on the internet today. Prior to starting Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. Her work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more. Her work has also been featured by Google for Publishers and other leading industry publications.