More Than 186,000 Restaurants Apply For Federal Revitalization Funds

WASHINGTON – Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced the initial results of the May 3 launch of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, showing more than 186,000 applications from restaurants and other food and beverage businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. Territories.

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.

“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 Guzman. “As directed by Congress, we’re prioritizing historically underserved communities and smaller businesses to ensure this relief is going to those who need it the most. At the SBA, we know that our nation’s restaurants help propel our economy and sustain our neighborhoods and communities, and we will continue to work hard to ensure they get the resources they need to recover, rebuild and become resilient.”

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.

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.

As outlined by 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.

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