Nearly one year after the coronavirus shut down restaurants, the restaurant industry is getting some direct relief. On March 11, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law. The $1.9 trillion stimulus package sets aside $28.6 billion to create a Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which will provide grants for small restaurants. This is the first direct relief for the restaurant since the pandemic started, and a much welcome addition on top of the Paycheck Protection Program. It comes at a crucial time for restaurants—despite gains in employment in February and March, there are still more than two million hospitality industry employees out of work/
The program is modeled after the RESTAURANTS Act, first proposed by the Independent Restaurant Coalition in April of 2020. Unlike previously passed legislation, this program provides debt-free grants for the restaurant industry If you’re reading, that’s probably you, and you’re wondering how to get it:
Who is eligible to receive funds?
Any establishment that serves food or beverages to guests is eligible. This includes:
- Food trucks, carts, or stands
- Bars and lounges
- Pubs and Taverns
- Breweries or wineries with a tasting room
Who is not eligible to receive funds?
- Any publicly traded company
- A business or group with more than 20 locations
- A business with a pending application under the Save Our Stages program
How much can I get?
The program allows for grants for the following amounts, depending on when your restaurant opened:
- Established restaurants (opened prior to 2019) — 2019 revenue minus 2020 revenue minus PPP loans
- Restaurants opened in 2019 — Average of 2019 monthly revenue times 12 minus 2020 revenues
- Restaurants opened in 2020 — Equal to eligible expenses incurred
The maximum amount awarded is $10 million per restaurant group, and $5 million per individual restaurant.
What are eligible expenses?
Expenses eligible for grant money to be used on are:
- Payroll and benefits (not including employees making more than $100,000/year
- Mortgage and rent payments
- Utilities and maintenance
- Outdoor seating construction
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies
- Food and beverage inventory
- Operational expenses (including restaurant software!)
- Debt obligations to suppliers
There are a few things take into account as to when your business will receive a grant.
For the first 60 days, $5 billion will be allocated to businesses with a gross revenue of up to $500,000 in 2019.
For the first 21 days beginning when funds are awarded, grants will be prioritized for small businesses owned by women or veterans, as well as businesses in economically disadvantaged areas.
Other than these two periods, grants will be awarded first come, first serve. Make sure you're prepared to get your funds as soon as possible.
How do I apply for the grant?
Now that the bill has been singed into law, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will be directed to set up program rules and applications, after which we will update this blog post to let you know exactly where to go and what you need to do to get a grant. You can also subscribe to our blog to make you get updates as soon as they are made.