Online applications for the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund will open Monday afternoon, according to Small Business Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman.
The SBA will begin registrations on Friday at 9 a.m. eastern and will open applications on Monday at noon eastern. The online application will remain open until all funds are depleted.
“Restaurants are the core of our neighborhoods and propel economic activity on main streets across the nation. They are among the businesses that have been hardest hit and need support to survive this pandemic. We want restaurants to know that help is here,” Guzman said in a statement. “The SBA has focused on the marketplace realities of our food and beverage businesses in designing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to meet businesses where they are. And we are committed to equity to ensure our smaller and underserved businesses, which have suffered the most, can access this critical relief, recover, and grow more resilient.”
There are three ways to apply to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The first option is to apply through a recognized “SBA Restaurant Partner.” That list includes POS providers Clover, NCR Corporation, Square, and Toast. SBA said each POS provider is helping in different ways, from providing a fully integrated application experience, to building pre-packaged POS documentation and holding webinars.
The other two options are to submit applications electronically at https://restaurants.sba.gov/ or apply via phone at 844.279.8898.
To prepare, SBA recommends that eligible restaurants familiarize themselves with the application process to ensure a smoother experience. Here are some steps the SBA recommends:
- Registering for an account in advance at restaurants.sba.gov starting Friday, at 9 a.m. EST.
- 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.
The fund is a part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which passed early last month. Eligible restaurants must meet certain conditions. As of March 13, 2020, the restaurant must own or operate (together with any affiliated business) 20 or fewer locations, regardless of name or type of business at those locations. SBA may provide funding up to $5 million per location, not to exceed $10 million total for the applicant and any affiliated businesses. The minimum award is $1,000.
During the first 21 days, the application process will prioritize restaurants owned by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Following the 21 days, all eligible applications will be funded on a first-come, first-served basis. Of the $28.6 billion, $9.5 billion will be set aside for smaller businesses: $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; and $500 million for applicants with 2019 gross receipts not more than $50,000.
The grants may cover such items as payroll, employee benefits and paid sick leave, mortgage, rent, and utilities, outdoor seating construction, PPE and cleaning materials, operational expenses, and debt obligation to suppliers. Funds must be used for allowable expenses by March 11, 2023.
Sean Kennedy, the National Restaurant Association’s executive vice president for public affairs, said it’s very likely that the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will be gone in a matter of weeks and that day one numbers will be “through the roof.” The National Restaurant Association will continue to work with SBA to ensure the process goes smoothly while at the same time alerting Congress about the limits of current funds.
“We appreciate how focused SBA has been on getting the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant process right and done quickly,” Sean Kennedy, the National Restaurant Association’s vice president for public affairs, said in a statement. “They are doing everything possible to help us educate our members so they are ready to apply."