Restaurant Owner FAQs for Transitioning Restaurant Vendors
What is the purpose of the Restaurant Meals Program?
The CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program is a voluntary component of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It enables elderly (age 60 or over), disabled and homeless CalFresh recipients to purchase prepared meals at participating restaurants. Its goal is to provide a variety of nutritious meal choices to eligible CalFresh recipients.
Are there any fees that I must pay to participate in the Restaurant
There are no fees/dues that a restaurant owner must pay for the Restaurant Meals Program. However, if you choose to sign up with the State’s EBT vendor you will be charged for the use of the Point-of-Sale (POS) device. To learn more, contact goEBT about the RMP:
Note: If you choose to integrate EBT into your current commercial Point-of-Sale equipment, you will need to contact your vendor and ask about additional fees.
How do I know if a customer who provides a Golden State Advantage (EBT)
card is eligible for the Restaurant Meals Program?
The state issued Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) equipment or your updated EBT integrated Point-of-Sale (POS) device has an Automated Eligibility Identifier that enables you to automatically identify if an EBT card can be processed for the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program. EBT cards work similar to debit and credit cards.
How can I handle a customer whose Golden State Advantage (EBT) card was
denied when processed on the EBT/POS device?
You may inform the customer to contact the ACCESS Customer Service Center at 1-866-262-9881 or visit their local Family Resource Center.
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, who does have an EBT cash account on their card, may use it at any site with EBT equipment, including Restaurant Meals Program sites. However, if the EBT cash account has a zero balance or has a balance lower than the transaction amount, the transaction will be denied.
Can a participating restaurant allow a mixed transaction (EBT CalFresh
and EBT cash combined)?
Yes, you may process a mixed transaction when the EBT cardholder, eligible for both programs, informs the cashier that meal payment is EBT CalFresh and EBT cash combined.
How long does it take to be reimbursed for the Golden State Advantage
(EBT) card meal purchases?
EBT meals purchases are usually reimbursed within forty-eight hours. If you have questions about EBT reimbursement, call the Retailer Helpline at (866) 328-4212.
I received notice that my restaurant is being transitioned to the State.
What does this mean?
This means that your County has decided to give the management of their Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). You must now enter into a new, very simple contract with CDSS to replace your previous contract with the County. We will also be your new point of contact if you have any questions or needs regarding the RMP. That's it! Please refer to the CalFresh Statewide Restaurant Meals Program Vendor Transition Steps for detailed steps on how the transition will work. This should have been attached to the transition email that was sent from your County.
What is this new contract?
This contract is called the Permanent Single Agreement (PSA). It is a simple form that outlines the restaurant vendor and CDSS responsibilities, requests the restaurant location information, the restaurant owner's information, and requires a signature. You are also requested to submit a Vendor Intake Form, which asks for additional restaurant information. Both forms are quick and simple to complete!
Once I sign the PSA, will the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that I
signed with the County still be active?
It is the County's responsibility to terminate the MOU once it fully transitions its RMP to CDSS. Please check with your County to confirm when your MOU will be terminated.
I have multiple restaurants - some even in different Counties. Can I
submit one PSA and one Vendor Intake Form for all of them?
You can submit a single PSA for multiple restaurants in they are under the same business license. Please make sure that you list all the restaurants' information on page 3, Attachment A1: Additional Restaurant Information of the PSA. A single Vendor Intake Form may also be submitted if the Additional Restaurant Attachment is filled out with all locations. Note that an incomplete PSA or Vendor Intake Form will likely lead to a delay in the review and approval of your transition materials.
What happens after entering into the new agreement with CDSS?
After signing the PSA with CDSS, the County in which your establishment resides will reach out to you to terminate the original MOU. This will be a separate process between you and the County and CDSS will not be involved in this termination.
What if I have a restaurant in a state-administered County and another
restaurant in a locally administered County? Can I still submit one PSA
and Vendor Intake Form for both?
CDSS can only approve PSAs for restaurants in Counties that have transitioned their programs over to us. If you have a restaurant located in one of the few Counties that opted to maintain local administration, no further action is required for that restaurant. Your restaurant will still be entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the County and operations will run as usual.
I am not sure if my restaurant is still authorized to be a part of the
RMP. How can I check?
Please visit the RMP Website and check to see if your restaurant is on the active RMP vendor list in your County. If your restaurant is on the list, your restaurant is still federally authorized to participate in the RMP with the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS).
My restaurant was deauthorized by USDA-FNS, but I want to continue
participating in the program. What do I do?
If your restaurant was deauthorized, you will need to re-apply for authorization by following the same steps as a newly applying restaurant. Application instructions can be found on the RMP Partners Page.
Why was my restaurant deauthorized from USDA-FNS?
There are several reasons why your restaurant could have been deauthorized by USDA-FNS. CDSS does not receive information from USDA-FNS on why certain restaurants were deauthorized. Please reach out to USDA-FNS directly at 1-877-823-4369 for further clarification.
I submitted my PSA and Vendor Intake Form to CDSS. What now?
If you are still federally authorized and have submitted your PSA and Vendor Intake Form to CDSS, you may continue accepting CalFresh food payments through EBT cards as payment from RMP customers while you wait for the transition to be completed. It may take up to three weeks or more to receive your signed PSA back. Once you receive the signed PSA, you must print and display the Statewide Restaurant Meals Program signage in your restaurant storefront.
I have an additional restaurant that isn't on the RMP and one that is.
Can I include this restaurant on the PSA and Vendor Intake Form for the
restaurant that I’m transitioning?
For this situation, separate PSAs and Vendor Intake Forms must be submitted, as CDSS processes applicant restaurants and transitioning restaurants differently. Any additional restaurants you’d like to participate in the program must follow the application steps found on the RMP Partners Page.
I have a question that isn’t on this document. Where can I find the answer?
Reach out to us at any time with questions, to CDSSRMP@dss.ca.gov. We are here to help you navigate this process!