Requirements for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund application were announced April 19 by U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, paving the way for restaurants to access $28.6 billion in funds established as part of the federal American Rescue Plan.
The restaurant industry has been hit hard by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the National Restaurant Association, 17% of eateries have closed forever due to the pandemic.
“With the launch of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, we’re prioritizing funding to the hardest-hit small businesses – irreplaceable gathering places in our neighborhoods and communities that need a lifeline now to get back on their feet,” said Guzman in a prepared statement. “And, thanks to clear directives from Congress, we’re rolling out this program to make sure that these businesses can meet payroll, purchase supplies, and get what they need in place to transition to today’s COVID-restricted marketplace.”
Guzman emphasized the SBA is focusing on keeping the process streamlined and “free of burdensome, bureaucratic hurdles – while still maintaining robust oversight.”
The SBA will establish a seven-day pilot period within the next two weeks for the RRF application portal to address technical issues ahead of the public launch. Participants in this pilot will be randomly selected from existing PPP borrowers in priority groups.
The application portal will be opened to the public following the pilot, with an official launch to be announced later. SBA will prioritize reviewing applications from small businesses owned by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals for the first 21 days; and for the days following, all eligible applicants are encouraged to submit applications.
“Local restaurants and bars are being served very good news today,” said Erika Polmar, executive director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, in a prepared statement. “These guidelines were crafted by the SBA after conversations with independent restaurant and bar operators across the country. We are grateful to the SBA for their hard work to make this process as accessible as possible in a short period of time. It is clear the SBA and the Biden Administration care deeply about ensuring businesses struggling the most can quickly and effectively use this relief program, and we look forward to continued conversations and collaboration to ensure this fund works as intended for the independent restaurant and bar community.”
This RRF will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business with no more than $5 million allotted per physical location.
Restaurants, food stands, food trucks, food carts, caterers, bars, saloons, lounges, taverns, snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars can apply.
Bakeries, brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms, breweries and/or microbreweries, wineries, distileries, and inns where onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts can also apply, as can licensed facilities of an alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products.