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  • Writer's pictureSteve Spiech

Can Your Restaurant Apply For The Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant?

[This article is an excerpt from a white paper I wrote for a client, ITech Digital Security Solutions, who specializes in security systems for the restaurant and retail industries. Click here to view the original article.]

While most industries were impacted by COVID-19 in the last year, few were hit as hard as the hospitality industry. The American Rescue Plan Recognized the need to provide additional assistance to eligible restaurants, bars, and other qualifying businesses by establishing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RFF). This program provides funding equal to COVID-19 revenue losses up to $10 million per business with no more than $5 million per location. The funds do not have to be repaid if they are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023. This program opened on May 3 and has already provided economic relief to 16,000 applicants.

Who is eligible for RFF grants?

Food and beverage related businesses who have experienced COVID-19 related lost revenue are eligible:

  • Restaurants

  • Food stands, food trucks, food carts

  • Caterers

  • Bars, saloons, lounges, taverns

  • Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars

  • Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products

For the following businesses onsite sales to the public must comprise at least 33% of sales:

  • Bakeries

  • Brewpubs, tasting rooms, and taprooms

  • Breweries and/or microbreweries

  • Wineries and distilleries

  • Inns

If, as of March 13, 2020, a business owned or operated more than 20 locations, it is not eligible. In addition, businesses that are permanently closed, filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, or are liquidating under Chapter 11 are not eligible.

See grant disqualifications list by the National Restaurant Association .

Are franchisees like McDonald’s or Wendy's ineligible for restaurant grants?

While publicly traded companies are ineligible to apply for grants, franchisees are eligible to apply as long as the applicant is listed on the SBA Franchise Directory. The important distinction here is larger establishments cannot control the direction of smaller businesses nor is an “affiliated business,” according to the National Restaurant Association.

How much can I get from the RFF grant program?

Here is the formula for businesses opened before 2019:

Start with your 2019 Gross receipts (Sales)

[Subtract your 2020 Gross receipts (Sales)]

[Subtract the total amount you received in PPP loans]

= your Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant

Keep in mind a business can receive no more than $10 million or $5 million per location. Businesses opened during 2019 and later are also eligible with some variations to the formula above.

What are eligible uses for grant funds?

The list of eligible expenditures is extensive and covers a large portion of the costs already incurred by your business.

  • Payroll costs (including sick leave)

  • Mortgage payments

  • Rent payments

  • Business debt service (both principal and interest)

  • Utility payments

  • Maintenance expenses – includes updating equipment and/or enhancing it to support your ability to ensure customer, employee, and food safety

  • Construction of outdoor seating

  • Supplies (including PPE and cleaning materials)

  • Food and beverage expenses

  • Covered supplier costs

  • Business operating expenses

How can I update my restaurant equipment to ensure customer, employee and food safety?

With COVID-19 health guidelines issued by the CDC, it is critical for restaurants to incorporate technology that provides transparency for daily operations. In addition to loss prevention, video camera surveillance also monitors compliance of safety standards in real-time, such as:

  • Appropriate use of masks

  • Cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces, tables and more

  • Adherence to Social Distancing Guidelines

How can I apply for the grant and what will I need?

You can apply directly with the SBA or through SBA-recognized Point of Sale (POS) vendors. Participating POS vendors include NCR Corporation (Aloha), Oracle, Square, Toast, and Clover. Filling out the application should take less than an hour, but plan for an hour. Also, gather all materials needed beforehand.

See a step-by-step guide on how to apply.

The following sites are good sources of additional information:

So, what are you waiting for? This program is ready to help you position your restaurant to survive and thrive to deliver great food to your customers!

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