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?

Starbucks coffee building

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. E.g. 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.

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 card surrounded by fresh produce

With the EBT, the individuals have access to financial and food support. That means their EBT account is credited with funds, which they 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 are some of many that accept EBT. So you can use your EBT card to purchase food from them:

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

Can you use EBT online for grocery delivery?

If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your couch, you can order food online from the following stores:

What grocery delivery apps take EBT?

Some grocery stores like Trader Joe’s don’t offer delivery services. So if you want to order food from there, you’d need to use a grocery delivery service. However, SNAP hasn’t approved many food delivery apps or services. So there aren’t many options you can choose from.

Currently, Instacart is the only grocery delivery service that has approval from the US government to accept SNAP EBT cards. So if the grocery store you want to order from doesn’t do deliveries, you’d need to use Instacart.

Just a recap!

In this article, we answered the question, “Does Starbucks take EBT cards?” by affirming that corporate-owned Starbucks businesses don’t accept EBT. However, Licensed Starbucks stores do. We also explained what an EBT card is and differentiated between Franchises, corporate-owned and Licensed businesses.

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