Just two days after the Small Business Administration opened the application for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, it has already received more than 186,000 applications from restaurants and other food and beverage businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all five U.S. territories, according to an SBA press release yesterday (May 5, 2021 in Washington, D.C.).
SBA opened the online application portal for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund last May 3, 2021. In the first two days of the RRF application window, the SBA has received:
• 186,200 applications from restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and five U.S. territories.
• 97,600 applications of which came from restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses owned and controlled by women (46,400), veterans (4,200), socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (30,800), or some combination of the three (16,200).
• 61,700 applications from businesses with under $500,000 in annual pre-pandemic revenue, representing some of the smallest restaurants and bars in America.
“Our nation’s restaurants have been among the first and worst hit by this pandemic, which is why we’ve been working as fast as possible to meet businesses where they are and get this much-needed relief into their hands,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman.
The $28.6-billion program, signed into law by President Joe Biden as part of the American Rescue Plan, provides economic aid to restaurants and other establishments struggling to make ends meet as a result of the pandemic.
In the weeks leading up to the opening of this program, the SBA engaged with hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs—in hundreds of webinars and events held in multiple languages—to make sure they were ready to apply. Further, to support demand for this funding opportunity, the SBA expanded the RRF ecosystem to include point-of-sale vendors, providing more ways for eligible restaurants to take advantage of the program.
As outlined by U.S. Congress, restaurants and bars are eligible for economic aid equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss, with a cap of $10 million per business and $5 million per location. The funds are available for certain eligible uses, like payroll and rent.
While all qualified businesses are allowed to apply, under the law, the SBA will prioritize RRF applications from small business concerns owned and controlled by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals for the first 21 days of the program. Following the 21-day period, all eligible applications will be funded on a first-come, first-served basis.
To further ensure the equitable distribution of relief, $9.5 billion in set-asides have been established for the smallest restaurants and bars—including millions of dollars for restaurants, bars, and food trucks with under $50,000 in revenue.
Approved applicants should expect an average of 14 days for processing, review, approval and funds distribution. Those interested in applying to the program should visit sba.gov/restaurants for sample application, program guide, and more. The application window will remain open until RRF funds have been fully exhausted. (PR)