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COVID-19 Relief for Restaurants: How to Apply for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant

By Vast Bank on 03.31.2021

Are you a restaurant owner? You could be eligible for a new grant to help you recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last updated: April 27, 2021

The Small Business Administration will begin accepting applications on Monday, May 3rd for the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) which will provide grants (RRF Grants) to eligible restaurants to help offset revenue losses. To receive funds, you will need to apply directly with the Small Business Administration. This is not a program facilitated by local, regional or national banks. How to Apply >

We’ve put together this helpful guide to help you navigate the RRF grant application process. Key details on application requirements, eligibility, and a program guide for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RFF) were announced Monday, April 19th.

According to the SBA, a seven-day pilot period for the RRF application portal and conduct extensive outreach and training will take place over the next few weeks. If you're an existing PPP borrower, you could be selected to participate in the Restaurant Revitalization Fund's (RFF) pilot program. The seven-day pilot period will be used to address technical issues ahead of the public launch which has not been announced yet. PPP borrowers will be randomly selected in priority groups for RRF and will not receive funds until the application portal is open to the public.

We’ve put together a guide to help you navigate the RRF grant process that includes important new information on the early applicant selection process, as well as eligibility requirements.


Who is Eligible?

A business is eligible for an RRF Grant if it is a restaurant, food stand, food truck, food cart, caterer, saloon, inn, tavern, bar, lounge, brewpub, tasting room, taproom, licensed facility or premise of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products, or other similar places of business in which the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink. The following will disqualify a business from obtaining an RRF Grant it:

  • is operated by a state or local government;
  • as of March 13, 2020, owns or operates (together with any “Affiliated Business”) more than 20 locations, regardless of whether those locations do business under the same or multiple names;
  • has a pending application for or has received a grant under SBA’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program; or
  • is, or is majority-owned or controlled by a publicly-traded company.

How Much Can an RFF Grant Recipient Receive?

A business that is eligible for an RRF Grant may receive an amount equal to its “pandemic related revenue loss,” subject to a cap of $5,000,000 per physical location and an aggregate cap of $10,000,000. An eligible entity “pandemic-related revenue loss” means:

  • For most Eligible Entities, 2019 gross receipts minus 2020 gross receipts;
  • For an Eligible Entity that was not in operation for the entirety of 2019,
    • 12 times its average monthly gross receipts in 2019 minus 12 times its average monthly gross receipts in 2020
  • For an Eligible Entity that opened between January 1, 2020, and March 10, 2021 (unless and until SBA establishes another formula)
    • Its payroll costs minus its gross receipts
  • For an Eligible Entity that has not yet opened as of the date of application for an RRF Grant but has incurred payroll costs as of March 10, 2021 (unless and until SBA establishes another formula), the amount of those expenses.

How Do PPP Loans Affect the Amount of an RRF Grant?

Any amounts received from First Draw PPP Loans and Second Draw PPP Loans will be reductions to the RRF Grant amount.

Is There a Priority in Awarding RRF Grants?

During the initial 21 days of the program, applications from Eligible Entities owned and controlled by women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals will receive priority with the grant application. For the first 60 days after enacted, $5 billion will be set aside for Eligible Entities with 2019 gross revenues under $500,000.

Are there Stipulations on Usage of Grant Proceeds?

Proceeds generally must use the proceeds during the covered period between February 2020 and December 31, 2021, for the following:

  • Payroll costs
  • Payments of principal or interest on the mortgage obligation
  • Rent payments
  • Utilities
  • Maintenance expenses, including construction to accommodate outdoor seating
  • Suppliers, including PPE and cleaning materials
  • Food and beverage expenses that are within the scope of the normal business practices
  • Covered supplier costs
  • Operational expenses
  • Paid sick leave
  • Other operational costs deemed to be essential to operations

If an Eligible Entity that receives an RRF Grant fails to use all grant funds for allowable expenses or permanently ceases to operate on or before December 31, 2021, it must return any funds that the Eligible Entity did not use for the allowable expenses.

Any amount of an RRF Grant to an Eligible Entity based on estimated receipts that are more than the actual gross receipts in 2020 must be returned.

What Certifications Must be Made When Applying for a RRF Grant?

An Eligible Entity must certify in good faith that:

  1. the uncertainty of current economic conditions makes necessary the grant request to support its ongoing operations;
  2. it has not applied for or received a grant under SBA’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program.

How Do I Apply?

The Small Business Administration will begin accepting applications on Monday, May 3rd. You can apply through SBA-recognized Point of Sale Restaurant Partners or directly via SBA in an upcoming online application portal. Registration with SAM.gov is not required. DUNS or CAGE identifiers are also not required.

If you would like to prepare your application, view the sample application form. You will be able to complete this form online. No RRF forms will be accepted by the SBA before the application acceptance date. For more information visit SBA.gov.

Have more questions? The U.S. Chamber's Neil Bradley and National Restaurant Association's Sean Kennedy break down the new restaurant relief program.


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