Update: The Restaurant Revitalization Fund has received more than 147,000 applications from women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged business owners, requesting a total of $29 billion in relief funds. While only $2.1 billion has been distributed, Congress only funded it to $28 billion. Expect an additional injection to come soon.
Update: The SBA will open applications beginning at noon May 3. Applicants can register for an account in advance at restaurants.sba.gov starting at 9 a.m. April 30. Although the first three weeks are earmarked for priority groups, applications from all eligible applicants will be accepted as soon as the program launches.
In preparation of applying, the SBA recommends qualifying applicants familiarize themselves with the application process in advance to ensure a smooth and efficient application experience, specifically by:
Registering for an account in advance at restaurants.sba.gov starting Friday, April 30, 2021, at 8:00 AM CST.
Preparing the required documentation. Working with a point-of-sale vendor or visiting restaurants.sba.gov to submit an application when the application portal opens [Note: if an applicant is working with a point-of-sale vendor, they do not need to register beforehand on the site.]
For the first 21 days that the program is open, the SBA will prioritize funding applications from businesses owned and controlled by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. All eligible applicants are encouraged to submit applications as soon as the portal opens. Following the 21 days, all eligible applications will be funded on a first-come, first-served basis.
The American Rescue Plan Act was recently signed into law, and $1.9 trillion stimulus package includes some much-needed relief for the restaurant industry.
The new stimulus package provides $28.6 billion in grants for bars, restaurants, and caterers in the form of “Restaurant Revitalization Grants.” These grants should be equal to the difference between a business's gross receipts pre-pandemic and gross receipts last year. If the business has fewer than 20 locations, it can get a grant of up to $5 million per location, up to $10 million in total.
We don’t yet know how these grants will be distributed.
The bill lists a covered period of February 15, 2020 to December 31, 2021. Eligible entities: “restaurant, food stand, food truck, food cart, caterer, saloon, inn, tavern, bar, lounge, brewpub, tasting room, taproom, licensed facility or premise of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products, or other similar place of business in which the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink.”
The bill also states that for the first 21 days in which these grants are distributed, businesses owned and/or primarily operated by women, veterans or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals should be prioritized.
According to the legislation, bars, restaurants, and caterers that receive a Restaurant Revitalization Grant must use the funds for the following:
Payments of principal or interest on any mortgage obligation (which shall not include any prepayment of principal on a mortgage obligation)
Rent payments, including rent under a lease agreement (which shall not include any prepayment of rent)
Maintenance expenses, including—
construction to accommodate outdoor seating; and
walls, floors, deck surfaces, furniture, fixtures, and equipment
Supplies, including protective equipment and cleaning materials
Food and beverage expenses that are within the scope of the normal business practice of the eligible entity before the covered period
Covered supplier costs, as defined in section 7A(a) of the Small Business Act (as redesignated, transferred, and amended by section 304(b) of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act (Public Law 116–260))
Paid sick leave
Any other expenses that the Administrator determines to be essential to maintaining the eligible entity
More complete details regarding Restaurant Revitalization Grants and how they will be distributed have not yet been released. I will update these reports as we receive new information and guidance from the SBA and other federal agencies.