Over 186K Restaurants Have Sought Federal Relief; 16K Funded A Week Later

On Monday, May 3, the Small Business Administration opened its portal for Restaurant Revitalization Fund applications.

Within two days, 186,200 restaurants have applied for their slice of the $28.6 billion program, which is part of the American Rescue Plan, according to details shared by the SBA. Applicants hailed from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and five U.S. territories.

A week later, on May 10, the SBA reported that 16,000 applications were approved, for a total of more than $2 billion in funds.

During a webinar last month, SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman acknowledged that the allotted funding will fall short of the pandemic-driven need among U.S. restaurant operators, but urged all eligible businesses to apply nonetheless. Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs at the National Restaurant Association, said this week that the association “is already meeting with lawmakers to identify how best to provide additional funding for the RRF, allowing the program to provide more relief to struggling restaurants of every type.”

“If the funding runs out before your application is processed, you will be counted and this information will be shared with Congress,” Guzman said during the April 21 webinar. “Your application is your voice in this case; it’s your chance to let our policymakers know what support is needed.”

Even the earliest applicants are not guaranteed funding, as Congress has elected to prioritize small foodservice businesses owned by women, veterans and those who are socially or economically disadvantaged for the first 21 days. Of the 186,000 applications received through May 5, more than half (97,600) represented such priority businesses. The largest amount, 46,400, were owned/controlled by women, another 30,800 by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, 4,200 by veterans, and 16,200 represented a mix of the three priority factors.

Further, 61,700 applications represented businesses with less than $500,000 in annual pre-pandemic revenue, representing some of the smallest restaurants and bars in America; $5 billion in set-asides have been established for such businesses.

Once priority businesses’ needs are met, applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis, with the SBA anticipating a 14-day average to process, review, approve and distribute funds. Applications will continue to be accepted until RRF funds have been fully exhausted.

For more information on the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, visit the SBA’s website.






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