The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, will begin accepting applications on Monday for the $28.6 billion in grant funds to aid restaurants, bars, caterers, food trucks and other foodservice operations that lost money due to the pandemic.
Almost no one believes the funds are sufficient to meet the demand. In fact, it is fully expected that the monies will be depleted during the initial 21-day period during which the Small Business Administration, which will oversee the application process, will give priority to businesses primarily owned by women, veterans and individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged, as stipulated by Congress.
All eligible businesses may apply beginning Monday whether they fall into one of the priority groups or not. Applications can be submitted online through the Small Business Administration website, which also has a 16-page sample application available to use as a worksheet. Additionally, some point-of-sale systems – including NCR Corporation, Square, Clover and Toast – are working with the SBA to enable applications through their technology.
Hopeful applicants should be prepared for the typical snafu associated with a launch of a government-operated website. It is also possible, theoretically, to apply by phone.
Businesses are basically eligible to receive the difference between their 2019 and 2020 gross receipts, minus any other federal assistance funds, up to $10 million. Publicly traded businesses and chains with more than 20 locations are not ineligible, as are restaurants that have permanently closed.
Pandemic-related losses to fund-eligible restaurants and bars are in the hundreds of billions of dollars, according to congressional estimates, so the $28.6 billion allocated will be insufficient funds. Lobbying is already underway to have Congress designated additional monies.