Does Pollo Loco Take EBT? Everything You Need to Know

Hey, folks! Let me ask you something – have you ever found yourself craving some delicious, juicy chicken from Pollo Loco but realized you don’t have cash on you? Well, if you’re a fortunate EBT cardholder, you might already know the answer to this crucial question – Does Pollo Loco take EBT?
For those of you who don’t know, EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer and is a government-backed program designed to provide low-income families with assistance in the form of food stamps. So, it’s no surprise that many people rely on this service to pay for their meals at their favorite restaurants, including Pollo Loco.

If you’re new to the EBT world and wondering if you can use your card at Pollo Loco, we’ve got some good news for you. The popular fast-food chain accepts EBT as one of the payment options, along with other payment methods such as cash, credit cards, and gift cards. That means EBT cardholders can enjoy Pollo Loco’s signature flame-grilled chicken, tasty sides, and refreshing beverages without worrying about cash. It’s a win-win situation for both the customers and the restaurant, as more people can access delicious meals while the brand gains more traction with a broader audience.

Now that you know the answer to whether Pollo Loco takes EBT, you can head over to your nearest mall or street location and indulge in some mouth-watering Pollo Loco specialties. Whether you’re in the mood for classic chicken meals or trying something new, you won’t regret swiping your card at the checkout counter. Happy eating!

What is EBT?

EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer, which is a government program that provides food assistance to low-income households. It replaced the traditional food stamp program and is managed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Through EBT, eligible recipients can receive nutritional assistance in the form of benefits that are loaded onto a debit card, which they can use to purchase food products from authorized retailers. The idea behind EBT is to provide a more convenient and secure way for individuals to access their benefits, and to reduce the stigma often associated with traditional food stamps.

Pollo Loco

Pollo Loco is a popular fast-food chain that specializes in flame-grilled chicken. With over 400 locations across the United States, this Mexican-inspired chain has gained a loyal following for its delicious food and affordable prices. One question that often comes up is whether Pollo Loco accepts EBT cards.

Does Pollo Loco Take EBT?

  • Yes, Pollo Loco does accept EBT cards as a form of payment for food purchases.
  • However, it is important to note that EBT can only be used to purchase hot or cold food that will be eaten on the premises.
  • This means that EBT cannot be used for take-out or delivery orders, as well as any pre-packaged food items such as chips and sodas.

What Other Payment Methods Does Pollo Loco Accept?

In addition to EBT, Pollo Loco accepts a variety of payment methods such as cash, credit cards, and debit cards. They also offer a rewards program that allows customers to earn points with every purchase, which can be redeemed for free food items.

Pollo Loco prides itself on providing quality food at affordable prices. With their commitment to serving the community, it’s no surprise that they accept EBT as a form of payment for those who rely on government assistance to purchase their meals.

Pollo Loco Nutrition Information

For those who are concerned about their health, Pollo Loco offers a variety of healthy and low-calorie options on their menu. They also provide detailed nutrition information on their website, which includes the calorie count, fat content, and other important information about each menu item.

Menu ItemCaloriesTotal Fat (g)Saturated Fat (g)Sodium (mg)
Original Pollo Bowl480113.51350
Grilled Chicken Breast2204.51650
Classic Chicken Burrito7802982220

Overall, Pollo Loco is a great option for those looking for a quick and satisfying meal that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re using EBT or another form of payment, you can rest assured that you’ll be getting a tasty and nutritious meal at a fair price.

EBT acceptance by fast-food chains

With the ongoing pandemic, more and more people are relying on government-funded programs like EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) to help them make ends meet. As a result, fast-food chains have started accepting EBT payments to cater to this growing population.

  • McDonald’s: In 2019, McDonald’s started accepting EBT payments in several locations across the US. However, this is not a nationwide policy, and it depends on the franchise owner’s discretion.
  • Burger King: While Burger King does not accept EBT payments in-store, you can use your EBT card to pay for food delivery through their website or app.
  • Taco Bell: Currently, Taco Bell does not accept EBT payments in their restaurants.

One of the fast-food chains that have been more proactive in accepting EBT payments is El Pollo Loco.

El Pollo Loco is a US-based fast-food chain that specializes in Mexican cuisine. The chain has over 480 locations across the country, and they have been accepting EBT payments since 2014.

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know about using EBT at El Pollo Loco:

What can you buy with EBT at El Pollo Loco?What can’t you buy with EBT at El Pollo Loco?
El Pollo Loco will accept EBT payments for any purchases made in-store or through their drive-thru that are considered food items. This includes meals, sides, and drinks.You cannot use EBT payments for non-food items such as gift cards, merchandise, or catering orders.

Overall, the acceptance of EBT payments by fast-food chains is a step towards greater accessibility and inclusivity for low-income communities. While not all fast-food chains accept EBT payments, the number of restaurants that are opting in seems to be slowly increasing.

State-specific EBT policies

Understanding state-specific EBT policies can help you identify if Pollo Loco takes EBT in your state.

  • Some states restrict the use of EBT for prepared foods or hot meals, while others allow it.
  • Other states allow EBT use at fast-food restaurants only if they are part of a state-run program, such as California’s Restaurant Meals Program.
  • It’s important to check the specific policies in your state to determine if Pollo Loco takes EBT.

Here is a table that shows the current state policies for EBT use at fast-food restaurants:

StateEBT Use at Fast-Food Restaurants Policy
AlabamaNot allowed
AlaskaNot allowed
ArizonaNot allowed
ArkansasNot allowed
CaliforniaAllowed through the Restaurant Meals Program
ColoradoNot allowed
ConnecticutNot allowed
DelawareNot allowed
District of ColumbiaNot allowed
FloridaNot allowed
GeorgiaNot allowed
HawaiiNot allowed
IdahoNot allowed
IllinoisNot allowed
IndianaNot allowed
IowaNot allowed
KansasNot allowed
KentuckyNot allowed
LouisianaNot allowed
MaineNot allowed
MarylandNot allowed
MassachusettsNot allowed
MichiganNot allowed
MinnesotaNot allowed
MississippiNot allowed
MissouriNot allowed
MontanaNot allowed
NebraskaNot allowed
NevadaNot allowed
New HampshireNot allowed
New JerseyNot allowed
New MexicoNot allowed
New YorkNot allowed
North CarolinaNot allowed
North DakotaNot allowed
OhioNot allowed
OklahomaNot allowed
OregonNot allowed
PennsylvaniaNot allowed
Rhode IslandNot allowed
South CarolinaNot allowed
South DakotaNot allowed
TennesseeNot allowed
TexasNot allowed
UtahNot allowed
VermontNot allowed
VirginiaNot allowed
WashingtonNot allowed
West VirginiaNot allowed
WisconsinNot allowed
WyomingNot allowed

If your state is not included in the table or if you have additional questions about EBT policies, it is recommended to contact your local EBT office directly for further information.

Eligible food items for EBT use

Pollo Loco is just one of the many establishments that accept EBT as a form of payment. If you are a recipient of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), you may use your EBT card to purchase eligible food items at Pollo Loco. These food items include:

  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Breads and cereals
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Snack food items such as chips and sodas are not eligible for purchase with EBT funds.

Types of SNAP eligible food items

SNAP eligible food items can come in a variety of forms and Pollo Loco offers a number of them. For example, you can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, canned fruits and vegetables, dried fruits and vegetables, and frozen fruits and vegetables all with your EBT card. The same goes for meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and bread and cereal products. In general, any food item that is meant for human consumption and is not a hot meal or restaurant item can be purchased using EBT funds.

How to know if a food item is eligible for EBT?

If you are unsure whether a particular food item is eligible for purchase with EBT funds or not, all you need to do is look for the SNAP logo. The logo usually appears on the packaging of the product or on a sign next to it in the store. However, there are some types of food items that are not eligible for purchase using EBT funds, such as energy drinks, alcoholic beverages, and tobacco products.

Using EBT funds to purchase Pollo Loco meals

While you can use EBT funds to purchase eligible food items from Pollo Loco, you cannot use them to purchase hot prepared meals or ready-to-eat foods like roasted chicken. However, some Pollo Loco locations may offer a separate menu for EBT purchases that includes specially-priced value meals that are eligible for purchase with your EBT card. It is important to check with your local restaurant to find out if they offer such a menu and what items are included.

EBT Purchases at Pollo LocoEligible for Purchase with EBTNot Eligible for Purchase with EBT
Fruits and VegetablesYesNo
Breads and CerealsYesNo
Meat, Poultry, and FishYesNo
Roasted ChickenNoYes
Value Meals (at select stores)YesNo

In conclusion, if you are an EBT cardholder, you can purchase certain food items at Pollo Loco using your EBT funds. Just be sure to look for the SNAP logo to ensure that the food item is eligible for purchase with EBT funds. While hot prepared meals and ready-to-eat foods like roasted chicken are not eligible for purchase using EBT funds, some Pollo Loco locations may offer a menu of specially-priced value meals that can be purchased with your EBT card.

EBT fraud prevention measures

Pollo Loco takes EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) as a form of payment for qualifying meals. However, there are measures in place to prevent EBT fraud and ensure that the benefits are being used for their intended purposes.

  • Identification Verification – It is mandatory for all EBT users to present a valid government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, before making a transaction with their EBT. This requirement helps to prevent the use of stolen EBT cards or benefits and also ensures that the person using the EBT is the authorized cardholder.
  • Transaction Limits – There are transaction limits in place for EBT users. These limits vary by state and are in place to prevent the misuse or abuse of the system. The limits may apply to the amount of benefits that can be spent per transaction or the total amount of benefits that can be used in a certain time period. These limits help to prevent fraudulent activity and ensure that the benefits are being used for their intended purposes.
  • Monitoring and Auditing – Pollo Loco and other merchants that accept EBT are subject to monitoring and auditing by government agencies to ensure that they are in compliance with EBT regulations and guidelines. Auditors may check transaction records and other documentation to ensure that the benefits are being used properly and that all regulations are being followed.

In addition to these measures, there are other ways that EBT fraud is prevented, such as:

  • EBT Account Access – Cardholders can access their EBT account balance to check transactions and ensure that their benefits are being used correctly. This feature allows cardholders to detect any unauthorized use of their benefits and report it to the appropriate authorities.
  • EBT Education and Outreach – States and other organizations provide resources and education to EBT users to help them understand their benefits and how to use them properly. This education and outreach also helps to prevent fraud by informing users of the consequences of misusing or abusing the system.
  • EBT Fraud Investigations – Government agencies investigate reports of EBT fraud and take appropriate action against those who are found to have committed fraud. Penalties for EBT fraud can include fines, imprisonment, and the loss of benefits.


Pollo Loco takes EBT payments and is committed to working with government agencies to prevent EBT fraud. The measures in place help to ensure that EBT benefits are being used for their intended purposes and that cardholders are protected from unauthorized use of their benefits. It is important for EBT users to understand their benefits and how to use them properly to avoid any potential issues or penalties associated with fraud.

EBT Fraud Prevention Tips
Keep your EBT card safe and secureReport any lost or stolen cards immediately to your state agency
Only use your EBT card to buy authorized itemsKnow the authorized items and how to use your benefits
Keep your receipts and check your balance frequentlyMake sure that the correct amount is being charged for your purchases and that your balance is accurate

By following these tips and working with trusted merchants, EBT users can use their benefits safely and securely.

Benefits and Limitations of EBT Usage

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is a government-funded program that provides food assistance to low-income individuals and families. As a recipient of EBT benefits, you can use your EBT card to purchase food items at participating retailers, including fast-food chains like El Pollo Loco. However, it’s essential to understand the benefits and limitations of using EBT to make informed decisions about your shopping habits.

The Benefits of EBT Usage

  • Increased accessibility to healthy food: EBT helps low-income families access healthy food options by providing them with assistance to purchase food items from authorized retailers.
  • Improved nutrition and health: EBT ensures that individuals have access to a nutritional diet, resulting in improved health outcomes in the long run.
  • Convenient and easy access to funds: With EBT, beneficiaries can receive funds and purchase food items without going through a cumbersome process.

The Limitations of EBT Usage

While EBT has many benefits for low-income families and individuals, it also has some limitations that beneficiaries should be aware of. These limitations include:

  • Restrictions on certain food items: With EBT, beneficiaries can only purchase food items that are approved by the program. Some items, such as hot foods or prepared meals, may not be eligible for purchase.
  • No cash withdrawals: Unlike other debit cards, EBT cards cannot be used to withdraw cash. Beneficiaries can only use them to purchase food items from authorized retailers.
  • Stigma: There is a certain stigma attached to using EBT cards that can make beneficiaries feel ashamed or embarrassed. This stigma can also discourage people from using their benefits, even when they need them.

The EBT Acceptance Policy at El Pollo Loco

El Pollo Loco is a participating retailer in the EBT program, which means that beneficiaries can use their EBT card to purchase food items at El Pollo Loco restaurants. However, as mentioned earlier, there are limitations to what items you can purchase with your EBT card. El Pollo Loco’s EBT Acceptance Policy restricts the purchase of hot foods, salads, wraps, side dishes, and drinks with EBT funds. Only family meals that are intended for individual consumption are allowed to be purchased with EBT funds. Below is a table illustrating the types of family meals beneficiaries can purchase using their EBT card at El Pollo Loco:

Meal TypeMeal DescriptionMeal Cost
Combo MealTwo whole grilled chicken meals with two large sides and two tortillas$14.99
Whole Chicken MealOne whole grilled chicken with two large sides and two tortillas$11.99
Legs and Thighs MealEight pieces of chicken, four legs, and four thighs with two large sides and two tortillas$12.99

Beneficiaries can order any of these family meals and pay with their EBT card. It’s important to note that while El Pollo Loco’s EBT Acceptance Policy is restrictive, it still provides an option for EBT beneficiaries to access healthy food options from a fast-food chain.

Income Eligibility for EBT Recipients

For those who are looking to use their EBT benefits at Pollo Loco, it’s important to understand the income eligibility requirements for EBT recipients. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides EBT benefits, has strict income guidelines that potential recipients must meet in order to qualify. In addition, there are also asset and household size requirements that must be considered.

Income Eligibility Guidelines for SNAP Recipients

  • For a household of one, the monthly gross income limit is $1,316. The net income limit is $1,005.
  • For a household of two, the monthly gross income limit is $1,784. The net income limit is $1,372.
  • For a household of three, the monthly gross income limit is $2,252. The net income limit is $1,738.

Asset and Household Size Requirements

In addition to meeting the income requirements, individuals must also meet asset and household size requirements. In general, a household with more members will be allowed to have a higher asset limit, which is currently set at $2,250. However, households that include elderly or disabled individuals may qualify for a higher asset limit. It’s important to note that certain assets, such as a primary residence and any retirement accounts, are not counted toward the asset limit.

Using EBT Benefits at Pollo Loco

If you meet the income and asset requirements for EBT benefits, you can use them at Pollo Loco to purchase food for your household. However, it’s important to note that EBT benefits can only be used to purchase certain items, such as food and beverages that are meant to be consumed at home. You cannot use your benefits to purchase hot and prepared meals that are meant to be eaten on site.

Purchase EligibilityNon-Eligible Items
Meats, fish, and poultryAlcoholic beverages
Dairy productsHousehold supplies
Bread and cerealsPet food and supplies
Fruits and vegetablesNon-food items
Snack foods and non-alcoholic beveragesHot and prepared foods

Understanding the income eligibility requirements for EBT recipients is important for those looking to use their benefits at Pollo Loco. By meeting these requirements, individuals can purchase eligible food items for their household using their EBT benefits.

EBT Enrollment and Usage Process

If you are currently enrolled in a government assistance program like SNAP, TANF, or WIC, you may be eligible to receive benefits through the EBT system. To enroll in EBT, simply contact your state’s EBT office and fill out an application. Once approved, you will be assigned a card that will allow you to access your benefits.

Using EBT at Pollo Loco

  • First, make sure the Pollo Loco location you plan to visit accepts EBT. You can check this by contacting the restaurant directly or visiting the USDA’s SNAP retailer locator website.
  • When placing your order, let the cashier know that you will be paying with EBT. They will then ask you to swipe your EBT card and enter your PIN.
  • You can use your EBT card to purchase any eligible food items on the Pollo Loco menu. However, keep in mind that you cannot use EBT benefits to pay for any non-food items, such as drinks or utensils.

EBT Restrictions and Guidelines

It is important to note that there are restrictions and guidelines when using EBT benefits. These guidelines vary by state, but generally include:

  • EBT benefits can only be used to purchase food items that are intended for human consumption and deemed “nutritious.”
  • EBT benefits cannot be used to purchase alcohol, tobacco, or non-food items.
  • EBT benefits cannot be used to pay for delivery or convenience fees.

Eligible Food Items at Pollo Loco

Pollo Loco features a variety of menu items that are eligible for purchase with EBT benefits. These items include:

Eligible Food ItemsNon-Eligible Items
Sides (rice, beans, corn, etc.)Utensils
SaladsGift Cards

By following these guidelines, you can easily and efficiently use your EBT benefits at Pollo Loco to enjoy a delicious meal with friends and family.

Impact of EBT on food insecurity and poverty reduction.

EBT or Electronic Benefits Transfer is a system that allows individuals and families in need to purchase food using government-issued debit cards. This method of providing assistance has been proven to have positive effects on food insecurity and poverty reduction.

Here are some ways EBT impacts these issues:

Food Insecurity

  • EBT helps to ensure that individuals and families have access to nutritious food, which can reduce the prevalence of food insecurity and hunger.
  • By providing individuals with more food options, EBT also allows recipients to make healthier food choices and reduce reliance on lower-cost, more calorically dense foods.
  • In addition, EBT provides an economic benefit to food retailers, which can result in improved quality and availability of products for all consumers in low-income communities.

Poverty Reduction

Participation in the EBT program has also been linked to poverty reduction. Here are some reasons why:

  • EBT increases disposable income for low-income individuals and families, which can reduce poverty rates and improve overall economic well-being.
  • The cash savings generated from EBT can be used to pay for other necessities, such as housing and healthcare.
  • Furthermore, because EBT funding is only for food purchases, recipients are incentivized to spend their money on necessities, rather than non-essential items.


In summary, EBT has a positive impact on both food insecurity and poverty reduction. By facilitating access to nutritious food and providing much-needed financial support, the program reduces hunger and improves health outcomes, while also boosting economic well-being for low-income individuals and families.

Positive Impacts of EBTNegative Impacts of EBT
Reduces food insecurityPossible misuse or abuse of benefits
Improves nutrition outcomesStigma and shame associated with receiving assistance
Reduces poverty ratesLimited selection of products from certain retailers

Overall, the benefits of EBT for individuals, communities, and society as a whole outweigh the potential challenges associated with the program.

Does Pollo Loco take EBT?

Here are 7 frequently asked questions (FAQs) about whether Pollo Loco accepts EBT.

1. Does Pollo Loco take EBT?

Yes! Pollo Loco accepts EBT payments at participating locations.

2. What types of EBT cards does Pollo Loco accept?

Pollo Loco accepts EBT cards as payment for hot and ready-to-eat food items from SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and CalFresh programs.

3. Can I order for delivery or pickup with my EBT card?

Yes, you can order food for delivery or pickup using your EBT card for payment.

4. Is there a minimum order for EBT payments at Pollo Loco?

No, there is no minimum order for using your EBT card at Pollo Loco.

5. Can I use EBT to pay for catering or large orders?

Yes, EBT cards can be used to pay for catering or large orders at participating Pollo Loco locations.

6. Are there any restrictions on items I can purchase with my EBT card at Pollo Loco?

EBT payments can only be used to purchase hot and ready-to-eat food items from SNAP and CalFresh programs at Pollo Loco.

7. Do I need to bring any additional identification to use my EBT card at Pollo Loco?

No, your EBT card is the only form of identification needed to use it as payment for food at Pollo Loco.

Closing Thoughts

Thank you for reading our FAQs about whether Pollo Loco takes EBT. We hope this information was helpful for you. If you have more questions or feedback, please feel free to contact us or visit Pollo Loco’s website for additional information. We appreciate your visit and hope to see you again soon!