Latest on SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund
- Restaurant Revitalization Fund stopped accepting applications Monday The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) officially stopped accepting applications Monday, May 24, at 8 p.m. ET, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced. The SBA revealed last week that the RRF had received applications seeking more than twice the $28.6 billion allocated by Congress to fund grants to restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses hard-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In a news release last Tuesday night, the SBA said that the RRF program has received more than 303,000 applications, requesting a total of nearly $70 billion, but that more than $220 million remained available from $500 million set aside for eating establishments that posted 2019 annual revenue of no more than $50,000.
- Food and beverage providers that meet $50,000 revenue standard are encouraged to apply through SBA-recognized point-of-sale vendors or directly via the SBA online application portal, the agency said. Congress created the RRF to provide food and beverage providers with grants equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss, up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. The funds can be used for eligible expenses, such as payroll and rent. Read more here.
- A Review of the SBA’s Grant Programs The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Regulations will hold a remote hearing titled: “A Review of the SBA’s Grant Programs.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 1:00 P.M. on Thursday, May 27, 2021 via the Zoom platform (information to be provided). See the hearing information here.
- An Examination of the SBA’s Covid-19 Programs The Committee on Small Business will hold a remote hearing titled: “An Examination of the SBA’s Covid-19 Programs.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 via the Zoom platform (information to be provided). See the hearing information here.
- Restaurants Appeal For More Aid by Politico: Restaurateurs spent most of last year successfully lobbying Congress to create a fund to aid restaurants battered by the pandemic. Now they’re mounting another lobbying campaign seeking more money, even as Congress turns its attention to President Joe Biden ’s infrastructure proposal and as Covid relief legislation recedes from the congressional agenda.
- The Restaurant Revitalization Fund has received more than 300,000 applications for aid since it started accepting them earlier this month. The deadline to apply is May 24, the Small Business Administration, which administers the fund, announced on Thursday. Restaurant lobbyists say it’s already clear that the $28.6 billion in relief funds now available aren’t nearly enough. Erika Polmar, the Independent Restaurant Coalition’s executive director, said restaurants need as much as $160 billion.
- While indoor dining restrictions are being rolled back and the weather in much of the country is increasingly hospitable to eating outdoors, many restaurants are deeply in debt and struggling with back rent that’s coming due, lobbyists said. “Two good months doesn’t make up for more than a year of being closed,” Polmar said. Restaurants are “turning their lights back on with a lot of debt, a lot of loss and a very uncertain future,” said Sean Kennedy, the National Restaurant Association's top lobbyist.
- Restaurant lobbyists have already been pressing lawmakers to appropriate more money, but they’re preparing to make a renewed push once the fund stops accepting applications next week. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), who worked on the original relief bill, are trying to determine how much more money is needed, according to Danielle Cohen, a Blumenauer spokesperson.
- The SBA's Overly Popular Grant Program for Restaurants Is 86ed In less than two weeks, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund attracted more applications than an all-you-can eat dinner special. The Small Business Administration, the agency overseeing the $28.6 billion grant program for hard-hit foodservice businesses, reported on Wednesday that since RRF's May 3 launch, it received more than 266,000 applications, representing more than $65 billion in requested funds. Nearly half, or 147,000 applications, came directly from women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged business owners, who requested $29 billion in relief funds. That will leave hundreds of thousands of other restaurant owners out of the money.
- For its first 21 days of operation, the RRF program was open only to businesses owned and controlled by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. To date, $2.7 billion of relief funds have been dished out to 21,000 restaurants. The SBA estimates that RRF awards take approximately 14 days to be reviewed and validated. Read more here.
- SBA data confirms that the current Restaurant Revitalization Fund can’t meet demand According to the latest data from the Small Business Administration, they have already received 147,000 applications from priority groups (for the first 21 days, women, veterans, and people in socially and economically disadvantaged groups are being prioritized), requesting a total of $29 billion in funds. While initially President Biden estimated that about 100,000 businesses would be able to be helped in this first wave of funding, this group of 147,000 applicants has requested just over the initial $28.6 billion in the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Overall, the SBA has received 266,000 applications representing over $65 billion in requested funds, more than twice the amount that is currently available. Read more here.
- You’ve Applied: What To Do Next Below are helpful tips on what to do once your application has been submitted to SBA:
- Retain all records submitted with the application, including a copy of the completed application.
- Retain all records supporting the application that were not submitted, including:
- Information supporting the date the business began making sales. SBA will be looking to establish the length of time the business has been open, so this documentation will be particularly important for any business opened in 2019 and later, due to RRF requirements.
- How the grant amount was calculated, including relevant amounts subtracted from 2020 gross receipts.
- Information demonstrating an assertion of priority for awarding the grant (certifying women-owned, veteran-owned, or owned by a socially and economically disadvantaged small business). The SBA can request documentation on your application or self-certifications, and plans to conduct random audits for some grant recipients. Retain all the records related to an eligible expense.
- Information regarding the determination of “affiliates” or “affiliated businesses.”
- Information supporting ownership shares for owners listed on the application as of the date of the application.
- Plan how your grant funds will be spent on eligible expenses. The RRF grant is NOT an economic stimulus payment. Any payments made with grant funds that are not authorized by RRF rules may require the recipient to repay the funds or become subject to a federal fraud investigation.
- Map out the covered period timeline: Feb. 15, 2020 to March 11, 2023, to ensure all planned eligible expenses fit within this time period.
- Learn how RRF funds may be treated in upcoming tax filings. For example, a business that chooses to use RRF money for payroll in 2021 should not plan to also apply for employee retention tax credits (ERTC) in the same calendar quarter.