The restaurant industry has been among the hardest-hit sectors during the economic downturn stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Georgia Restaurant Association, the industry has suffered more than $250 billion in losses and the closing of more than 110,000 restaurants – 4,000 of which are in Georgia.
To help bring jobs back and revive the industry, the American Rescue Plan established the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant program at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
The RRF will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location.
The minimum award amount is $1,000. SBA will specifically set aside $5 billion for food businesses earning not more than $500,000 per year; $4 billion to mid-sized venues taking in $501,000 to $1.5 million annually; and $500 million to establishments making under $50,000.
Here are the top things to know about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund:
What type of entities are eligible?
Restaurants, food trucks, food stands, food carts, caterers, bars, lounges, taverns, inns, bakeries, brewpubs, breweries, microbreweries, wineries and distillers are eligible. Bakeries, inns, brewpubs, distilleries, and wineries must have onsite sales to the public that comprise at least 33 percent of gross receipts.
Franchisees that meet all program requirements are also eligible and must be listed on the SBA Franchise Directory.
What can the funds be used for?
Eligible entities who receive the RRF grant may use the funds for specific expenses such as payroll costs, mortgage payments, rent payments, utilities, maintenance, supplies, food and beverage expenses, operating expenses, and construction of outdoor seating.
Funds must be spent on expenses incurred between February 15, 2020 and March 11, 2023.
How do eligible entities apply?
Once the application opens, eligible entities may apply directly via the application portal at www.restaurants.sba.gov.
Additionally, entities may apply through SBA-recognized point of sale restaurant partners including Clover®, NCR Corporation, Square, and Toast. Applications can also be submitted via telephone at (844) 279-8898.
To stay informed of the latest updates about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and for more details about eligibility, funding, and how to apply please visit www.sba.gov/restaurants.
Terri Denison is the district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration Georgia District. The SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small businesses with resources to start, grow, expand or recover.