The U.S. Small Business Administration has received more than twice the amount of Restaurant Revitalization Fund requests than they have money for, though the National Restaurant Association is advocating for more funding.
As of May 12, there were 266,000 RRF applications seeking a total of $65 billion, more than double than the $28.6 billion fund total.
Applications were accepted starting May 3 and for the first 21 days, the SBA is prioritizing funding applications from businesses owned and controlled by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Applications from that group alone totaled $29 billion.
The National Restaurant Association is advocating for additional funding and has launched a petition effort.
“We are urging policymakers in Washington – from the White House to Capitol Hill – to replenish the RRF to maximize relief for small independent and franchise restaurant operators,” the petition says. “Americans can’t wait to get back into their favorite restaurant with their family and friends, and the federal government can play a key role in making that a reality.”
The restaurant industry, however, has applauded the speed at which money has been distributed.
“Awarding grants within a week of restaurants and bars applying demonstrates SBA's steadfast commitment to getting people the help they need as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Erika Polmar, executive director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition.
The RRF grants are for restaurants with 20 or fewer locations to help cover their pandemic-related revenue losses in 2020.
In addition to priority funding for businesses owned and controlled by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, the SBA created a $9.5 billion set-aside of the funding for small restaurants totaling:
- $5 billion for applicants with 2019 gross receipts of not more than $500,000;
- $4 billion is set aside 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.
Though requests more than double available funding, the SBA is still accepting applications at restaurants.sba.gov.
More information on how to apply can be found in our previous article Restaurant Revitalization Fund to Start Disbursing $28.6 Billion in Stimulus Aid. More information on the qualification rules can be found in our prior article New Restaurant Aid: How to Qualify for New Stimulus Funding.