Does Starbucks Take EBT?

 Does Starbucks take EBT cards? Well, it depends on which Starbucks store you want to patronize. Corporate-owned Starbucks stores don’t accept EBT cards, but the Licensed Starbucks stores do. As you read on, you’ll learn why Starbucks doesn’t take EBT, what an EBT card is, and the difference between corporate-owned, licensed and franchise businesses.

Why don’t Corporate-owned Starbucks stores take EBT cards?


Company or corporate-owned Starbucks stores don’t take EBT because Starbucks is not a SNAP approved retailer. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides food assistance to families with low to no income.

SNAP offers eligible individuals with an Electronic Benefits Transfer card (EBT). This allows them to pay for food items in approved retail stores. 

Since corporate-owned Starbucks stores aren’t among the approved SNAP retailers, you can’t buy coffee there with your EBT card. But most of its Licensed stores accept EBT. For example, Target Starbucks. However, the Licensed stores have some limiting policies. 

You can’t buy hot coffee, latte, espresso and tea with your EBT card. You also can’t buy liquor, cigarettes or tobacco and non-food items like pet foods, paper products, medicine, soaps and household supplies. But you can buy sandwiches, sweets, soft and energy drinks with certain snacks. You can also buy ground coffee.

What is an EBT card used for? 

An EBT card is a special debit card issued by government assistance programs and welfare departments in a country to provide benefits to families with low incomes. 

EBT cards for different states in the USA
EBT cards (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

With your EBT card, you have access to financial and food support. That means your EBT account is credited with funds you can use to pay for food or grocery items in any approved retail supermarket. EBT is supported in all 50 states in the USA, including the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. 

Corporate-owned vs franchise vs licensed businesses: What are the differences?

Corporate-owned businesses

All corporate-owned businesses refer to the branches or chains of a corporation. The corporation is the parent business to the others, and is responsible for making all decisions that affect their operations. For example, Starbucks Corporation is the parent company of over 16,637 company-owned stores worldwide, including:

  • Starbucks Coffee
  • Evolution Fresh 
  • Torrefazione Italia
  • Ethos Water
  • Teavana Tata
  • Hear Music 
  • La Boulange Bakery


Franchises are businesses that operate under the name and brand of a corporation with the permission of that corporation. The franchisee buys the rights to use the corporation’s name and business model for a flat fee, and then subsequently pays smaller fees (royalties) to continue running the business. 

Unlike with corporate-owned businesses, the corporation does not influence the operations of a franchise or make decisions for it. For example, Wakefern Food Corp. is a parent company and ShopRite is its subsidiary. ShopRite has franchises in countries like Nigeria that operate under its name and business model.

Licensed businesses

Licensed businesses work just like franchises, but the difference is that the licensee doesn’t buy the rights to operate under the corporation’s name and business model. Instead, he pays a fee to the corporation to allow him to offer the corporation’s services and use its name. For example, Starbucks doesn’t franchise but it allows licensing. That means you can get to manage a Starbucks branch while using its own employees and equipment to make profit from coffee sales.


What restaurants accept EBT?

The following restaurants accept EBT:

  • Burger King
  • Dairy Queen
  • Dominos pizza
  • KFC
  • Taco Bell
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken

Can you use EBT online for grocery delivery?

You can’t use your EBT card to pay for delivery fees online. But you can make payment for products, then use a different card to cover the costs of the delivery fee. If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your couch, the following stores accept EBT online:

What grocery delivery apps take EBT?

Currently, Instacart is among the few grocery delivery services that accept SNAP EBT cards. So if the grocery store you want to order from doesn’t do deliveries, you’d need to use Instacart. Paying for delivery fees is prohibited, so you can only make payment for your product. To pay for delivery fees and other charges, you have to add your debit card.