Can Restaurants Accept SNAP Benefits? Let’s Make It Possible

The COVID-19 crisis has fundamentally altered the world we share in a multitude of ways, some of which are obvious and others that will only be revealed over time.

In addition to the hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide, the economies of the planet have come to a virtual standstill as millions of people stay home to help slow or stop the spread of this new virus. We’re living in a new normal that continues to evolve as we adapt and adjust to this rapidly changing reality.

One of the first industries to experience adverse economic effects of the coronavirus was the restaurant industry.

As the number of COVID cases and casualties continued to grow, governments worldwide ordered restaurants to close their dining rooms, and industry revenues tumbled from a cliff that no one could have seen coming just a short time before.

The world of foodservice and hospitality found itself performing a tap dance of improvisation as restaurants rushed to find new ways to keep their kitchens open and serve the public without putting their workers or customers at risk.

Restaurant owners nationwide have explored countless creative strategies to stay afloat. In  addition to delivery and takeout, one strategy has been to offer delivery or curbside pickup of uncooked, ready-to-prepare meal kits and groceries in addition to their standard prepared menu items.

It’s a strategy that not only benefits restaurants, but the millions of consumers who’ve found themselves confined to their homes. Many are unwilling or unable to risk a trip to the grocery store. The availability of these uncooked meal kits and groceries is a mutually beneficial solution to the dilemma of both restaurant and consumer.

But unfortunately, stay-at-home orders have resulted in massive job loss and an explosion in national unemployment numbers. The federal government has taken action to provide limited economic stimulus payments and has augmented social safety nets like unemployment insurance. As one result of these measures, an estimated 50 million people this year will qualify for SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps).

But SNAP benefits can’t currently be used at restaurants.

To change that, OneDine CEO Rom Krupp has started a Change.Org petition to allow restaurants to accept SNAP benefits for meal kits and groceries. This petition can help save the struggling restaurant industry and serve an economically strapped public.

In Krupp’s words, “Restaurant curbside pick-up is a safe and contactless way for health-conscious shoppers to receive their food items, and would be a good alternative for many immuno-compromised SNAP recipients who are struggling to access their eligible benefits.”

“Restaurants have been one of the hardest hit industries since the onset of the gathering restrictions, and they are also near and dear to so many of us that work in the industry and that patronize our local eateries,” adds Krupp. “Allowing them to recover some revenue by providing eligible raw ingredients and ready-to-prepare meals to the large number of people receiving SNAP benefits would increase their odds of surviving the pandemic so they can continue to service their communities when we emerge from social distancing.”

OneDine provides an automated POS solution designed BY people in the restaurant industry, FOR people in the restaurant industry. From the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, they have worked to provide their touchless solution to all restaurants for free to help them optimize off-premises revenues during the restrictions resulting from the pandemic.

OneDine’s technology eliminates the need for hand-held menus and the passing of credit cards, receipt holders, pens, etc. by turning your parking lot into a touch-free takeout zone. All setup and transaction fees will be waived to support restaurants during the COVID-19 crisis, and there is no commitment or contract required. All tech is free of charge, and restaurants can be onboarded, at no cost, in as little as 72 hours. Normal credit card processing fees still apply.

This petition is just one more way in which OneDine hopes to help restaurants navigate these uncertain times.

Please join OneDine in petitioning the USDA to allow this valid and beneficial use of SNAP funds.

The petition can be found here. Every signature counts!