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Restaurant Revitalization Fund Applications Limited to Businesses with Smallest Revenues as Demand Exceeds Available Funding

  • Restaurant Revitalization Fund currently limiting new applications to eligible businesses with 2019 revenues of less than $50,000
  • Demand on the program has quickly outstripped the $28.6 billion in available funding
  • Priority applicants account for more than half of the program’s applicants

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

The U.S. Small Business Administration is limiting new applications to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund after demand for the program quickly exceeded available funding.

The SBA says funding remains available for eligible businesses with 2019 revenues of less than $50,000. Applications can be submitted through the SBA’s online portal or an SBA-recognized point-of-sale vendor.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was established under the American Rescue Plan with $28.6 billion in grant funding. These awards are available to businesses where “the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink.” Grants are capped at $5 million per location or $10 million per applicant, including affiliates.

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said more than 147,000 applications have been received from women, veterans, and socially or economically disadvantaged business owners, accounting for more than half of the total applications and $29 billion in requested funding.

The program has a 21-day priority period for these applicants. This aspect of the program has prompted a lawsuit from the conservative legal group Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, which charges that the priority window is discriminatory.

Guzman said the data shows that the program has been successful in “reaching the smallest restaurants and underserved communities that have struggled to access relief.” The SBA is aiming to rapidly deploy funds to qualifying businesses, and has distributed $2.7 billion to approximately 21,000 restaurants since the Restaurant Revitalization Fund opened on May 3.

Congress established a $5 billion set-aside in the program for companies with gross receipts of less than $500,000. Guzman said the SBA has created two additional funding allocations to direct more aid to the nation’s smallest businesses, including food trucks and carts. A total of $4 billion will be set aside for applicants with 2019 gross receipts of between $500,000 and $1.5 million, while $500 million will be set aside for applicants with 2019 gross receipts of less than $50,000.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund has received more than 266,000 applications requesting over $65 billion. The National Restaurant Association has called on Congress to provide more funding to the program to better meet the need of food and beverage businesses.

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