Log in links for this page

SNAP RMP Vendor FAQ

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) on the 2022 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) Notice of Opportunity (NOO) to enroll vendors. This information may be updated frequently. Please check back regularly for updates.

Table of Contents

Overview

  1. What is the purpose of the RMP?

Under federal rules, the SNAP RMP allows older adults (age 60 or over), homeless individuals, and people with disabilities to buy food at authorized restaurants and food trucks using their SNAP EBT card.

The RMP was created to support populations that typically encounter access barriers and challenges with being able to buy, store and prepare food. Its goal is to increase the accessibility of SNAP by providing additional healthy meal choices to eligible SNAP recipients that may not be able to cook for themselves.

NOO Application

  1. How can I apply to participate in the RMP Pilot?

The initial application period is open from June 1, 2022 to October 31, 2022. Only restaurant/food truck applications submitted within this period will be eligible for participation at this point. Applications submitted during this period but are not selected may be considered and included in reviews for future phases of the program. Learn more about the requirements here.

For this pilot period, DTA will limit participation to restaurants/food trucks that are:

  • Locally- and privately-owned;
  • Not part of a restaurant conglomerate or multi-unit chain (including franchises); and
  • Provide counter-based service and payment.

You can apply online. If you wish to apply over the phone please send a request to DTA.RMP@mass.gov to schedule a time to complete your application. Please indicate in your email if you need translation services.

  1. I own more than one restaurant. Can I apply for all my restaurants to participate in the RMP?

Yes, there is no limit to the number of restaurants you can apply for to participate in the Massachusetts Restaurant Meals Program. You must submit a separate application for each restaurant unless they are part of a multi-unit chain or franchise group and share the same name and menu.

However, for the current pilot application period, participation is limited to restaurants that are:

  • Locally- and privately-owned;
  • Not part of a restaurant conglomerate or multi-unit chain (including franchises); and
  • Provide counter-based service and payment.
  1. I am having difficulty understanding or completing the application. How can I get help?

Please contact DTA at DTA.RMP@mass.gov if you need any assistance understanding or completing the application. Applications may also be submitted over the phone and translation services are available.

  5. I see that RMP restaurant vendors have to offer  a reduced-price meal option(s) as a requirement to participate in this program. How can I meet this requirement? 

Restaurants are flexible to choose how best their business can meet the requirement of offering a reduced-price meal option(s), with the only condition that the reduced-price meal option cannot be made exclusively available to SNAP/EBT clients. If your restaurant is already offering some type of reduced-price menu or menu item for all or certain groups of customers, your restaurant may already meet the requirement. 

Some examples of how restaurants can meet this reduced-price meal requirement include (but are not limited to): 

  • Consistently offering a reduced-price meal (e.g., a separate low-cost menu or daily lunch special) 
  • Offering a rewards program (e.g., a free meal after a certain number of purchases) 
  • Reducing all menu items by a flat percent (e.g., 5%)

If there is another option that the restaurant wants to pursue in meeting the requirement, restaurants can explain further in their DTA RMP Application. DTA will review if the proposed reduced-option meets the program rule. 

    6. My grocery store already accepts SNAP and also sells prepared food from a counter. Would my grocery store be able to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program?

This would depend on whether your prepared food programs exist as separate business entities from your grocery operations. USDA defines the "restaurant threshold" as "firms with more than 50 percent of their total gross sales from hot and/or cold prepared foods not intended for home preparation or home consumption (including prepared foods consumed on the premises or sold for carryout)."

If the prepared food programs are separate entities, then the prepared food entity is eligible to participate in the RMP. However, if they are not, the store would only be considered to be a “restaurant” and eligible for the RMP if the entire business qualifies under this threshold.

   7. I have a meal delivery service for older adults and/or individuals that have a disability. Is my business eligible to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program?

While meal delivery services are not eligible to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program, your delivery service may still be eligible to be a SNAP retailer. Find out more at  https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/rsc and https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/apply-to-accept.

   8. What is the purpose of the requirement for counter-based service and payment?

The counter requirement is to address the need for SNAP clients to enter their PIN numbers upon purchase and program rules for restaurants being prohibited from charging tax and tip on purchases made with SNAP. This requirement ensures that SNAP clients are able to enter the PIN numbers themselves without having to tell someone else of their PIN number any possible discriminatory practices around processing their payments.

 

   9. Will DTA be able to provide technical assistance to my restaurant if we have been selected to participate? 

Yes, DTA will be available provide technical assistance throughout the duration of the RMP such as, working through the USDA-FNS authorization process, figuring out POS capabilities, and meeting program compliance.

A detailed onboarding training on RMP operations will be provided by DTA to restaurants that have been selected to participate in the program. 

After Approved

  1. How long does it take to become an authorized restaurant/food truck?

Restaurants/food trucks will be selected for participation after the close of the initial application period (June 1, 2022 to October 31, 2022). You will be notified by DTA if your business is selected to participate in the RMP and is approved to complete the next step with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS). The subsequent USDA-FNS retailer authorization process will take approximately 45 to 60 days.

  1.  Are there any fees that I must pay to participate in the RMP?

There are no fees/dues that a restaurant/food truck owner must pay for the RMP.

  3. Will restaurants participating in the RMP be provided with the necessary processing equipment?

Many restaurants and food trucks that currently already accept credit and debit likely already have processing equipment that have the capability to accept SNAP. DTA will work with those restaurants and food trucks to configure their devices in order to do so. All other participating restaurants and food trucks will be provided with the necessary EBT processing devices, and all equipment costs will be covered through September 2023.

Date published: June 1, 2022
Feedback