SBA’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund Open Through May 24

Editor’s Note 5/20/2021: Applications for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will be accepted until Monday, May 24 at 8 p.m. ET

Editor’s Note 4/27/2021: The SBA has released additional guidance and timelines for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Registrations will begin on Friday, April 30 at 9 a.m. ET with applications opening at 12 p.m. ET on Monday, May 3.

Steps applicants can take to prepare include:

  • Registering for an account in advance at restaurants.sba.gov starting Friday, April 30 at 9 a.m. ET
  • Reviewing the official guidance, including program guide, frequently asked questions, and application sample.
  • Preparing the required documentation.
  • Working with a point-of-sale vendor or visiting restaurants.sba.gov to submit an application when the application portal opens. [Note: If an applicant is working with a point-of-sale vendor, they do not need to register beforehand on the site.]
  • Attending a live recorded virtual training webinar.

More than a year after the coronavirus pandemic began decimating the restaurant industry, relief for some is in sight – and not just because of vaccinations.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has released the application and guidelines for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The $28.6 billion fund was created by the American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location.

The scope of businesses eligible for the funding includes:

  • Restaurants
  • Food stands, food trucks, food carts
  • Caterers
  • Bars, saloons, lounges, taverns
  • Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars
  • Bakeries*
  • Brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms*
  • Breweries and/or microbreweries*
  • Wineries and distilleries*
  • Inns*
  • Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products

*Onsite sales to the public must comprise at least 33% of gross receipts

Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.

The list of eligible expenses includes:

  • Business payroll costs
  • Payments on any business mortgage obligation
  • Business rent payments (note: this does not include prepayment of rent)
  • Business debt service
  • Business utility payments
  • Business maintenance expenses
  • Construction of outdoor seating
  • Business supplies, including protective equipment and cleaning materials
  • Business food and beverage expenses
  • Covered supplier costs
  • Business operating expenses

“We are starting the process to help restaurants and bars across the country devastated by the pandemic, and this is our message: Help is here. With the launch of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, we’re prioritizing funding to the hardest-hit small businesses – irreplaceable gathering places in our neighborhoods and communities that need a lifeline now to get back on their feet,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “And, thanks to clear directives from Congress, we’re rolling out this program to make sure that these businesses can meet payroll, purchase supplies, and get what they need in place to transition to today’s COVID-restricted marketplace.”

After technical issues have plagued other program rollouts, the SBA says it will utilize the next few weeks to establish a seven-day pilot period for the RRF application portal and conduct extensive outreach and training to address technical issues ahead of the public launch.

“Participants in this pilot will be randomly selected from existing PPP borrowers in priority groups for RRF and will not receive funds until the application portal is open to the public,” the SBA says.

Following the pilot, the application portal will be opened to the public at to-be-announced date

During the first 21 days of the application period, the SBA will accept applications from all eligible businesses, but prioritize funding for applicants that have self-certified that they meet the eligibility requirements for a small business owned by women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. 

From day 22 until the funds are exhausted, applications will be processed in the order in which they are approved by the SBA.

Of the $28.6 billion, $9.5 billion is reserved for some of the smallest operators, including:

  • $5 billion for applicants with 2019 gross receipts of not more than $500,000
  • $4 billion for applicants with 2019 gross receipts from $500,001 to $1,500,000
  • $500 million for applicants with 2019 gross receipts of not more than $50,000

In anticipation of the portal’s opening date, businesses can view a sample application, learn more about required documentation and calculating funding amounts at sba.gov/restaurants.