The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will begin registrations on Friday, April 30, 2021, at 9 a.m. EDT and open applications on Monday, May 3, 2021, at noon EDT for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The online application will remain open to any eligible establishment until all funds are exhausted.
Last week, the SBA selected Clover ®, NCR Corporation, Oracle, SpotOn, Square, and Toast as the first round of technology partners participating in a new initiative for the fund. The program will allow eligible restaurants and other food establishments to access the RRF application or data they need to fill out the application through their point-of-sale (POS) service providers.
Established under the American Rescue Plan, and signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund provides a total of $28.6 billion in direct relief funds to restaurants and other hard-hit food establishments that have experienced economic distress and significant operational losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program 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. Funds must be used for allowable expenses by March 11, 2023.
In preparation, 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 9 a.m. EDT.
- Reviewing the official guidance, including program guide, frequently asked questions, and application sample.
- 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.]
- Attending a live recorded virtual training webinar.
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.
Consistent with the legislation and the intent of Congress, the SBA continues to take steps to ensure the equitable distribution of relief, particularly for the smallest businesses, by creating a $9.5 billion set-aside: $5billion for applicants with 2019 gross receipts of not more than $500,000; $4 billion is set aside for applicants with 2019 gross receipts from $500,001 to $1,500,000; and $500 million for applicants with 2019 gross receipts not more than $50,000.
“Restaurants are the core of our neighborhoods and propel economic activity on main streets across the nation. They are among the businesses that have been hardest hit and need support to survive this pandemic. We want restaurants to know that help is here,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “The SBA has focused on the marketplace realities of our food and beverage businesses in designing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to meet businesses where they are. And we are committed to equity to ensure our smaller and underserved businesses, which have suffered the most, can access this critical relief, recover, and grow more resilient.”
“May 3rd can’t come soon enough for Independent restaurants and bars,” said Erika Polmar, Executive Director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition. “The Small Business Administration and neighborhood restaurant and bar operators have worked hard to create a grant program that is accessible to the smallest businesses in our community. After weeks of roundtables and community outreach, restaurants and bars are completely prepared to submit their applications so they can get the relief they need to keep their businesses open. We know these funds are in high demand, and will likely be distributed quickly, so I encourage every small restaurant and bar in need to pre-register their application atrestaurants.sba.gov as soon as possible so they can receive relief. The Independent Restaurant Coalition is grateful to the SBA and the Biden Administration for standing up this program quickly and taking meaningful steps to allow struggling businesses to access the grants they need.”
As the government provides guidance, the IRC continues to update resources to help the independent restaurant and bar community prepare to apply for RRF grants.