The Small Business Administration has released details for receiving assistance through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). This $28.6 billion fund was established through the American Rescue Plan that was signed into law in March. The SBA has not announced when it will start accepting applications, however.
SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said “we’re prioritizing funding to the hardest-hit small businesses – irreplaceable gathering places in our neighborhoods and communities that need a lifeline now to get back on their feet. … We’re rolling out this program to make sure that these businesses can meet payroll, purchase supplies and get what they need … to recover, rebuild and thrive.”
Franchise owners are eligible to participate in the RRF program if their franchise brand is listed in the SBA’s Franchise Directory. If their brand isn’t listed, the franchisor must submit to firstname.lastname@example.org the Franchise Disclosure Document (or equivalent agreement) along with all documents a franchisee signs in order to help its franchisees become eligible, according to an online QSR report.
SBA RRF application process
The SBA has focused on ensuring that the RRF application process is “streamlined and free of burdensome bureaucratic hurdles,” Guzman said. Application reviews are expect to take about 14 days, with approved funds being deposited into the bank accounts listed on applications.
Money will be distributed directly through the SBA and not local financial institutions as was the case with the Paycheck Protection Program. Guzman indicated this would help ensure that small businesses are at the front of the line instead of being elbowed out by big corporations as happened in some cases under the PPP.
The SBA will start with a seven-day pilot project that includes training, outreach and troubleshooting. Pilot participants will be selected at random from existing PPP borrowers in priority groups for RRF (enterprises owned at least 51 percent by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged business owners); they won’t receive money until the application portal opens to the public, however. The first 21 days of the RRF program, once it launches, will give priority to those three groups.
SBA RRF qualifications
The SBA has reserved $5 billion for applications showing 2019 gross receipts up to $500,000. Another $4 billion is set aside for applications by businesses with 2019 gross receipts over $500,000 and maxing out at $1.5 million. Businesses with 2019 gross receipts of $50,000 or less are eligible to tap a $500 million pool within the RRF.
Applications may be made through recognized “SBA Restaurant Partners” (certain tech companies that serve the industry), directly to the SBA at restaurants.sba.gov and by phone at 844-279-8898. The SBA encourages use of the partner application method because it will be quicker for completing and processing. The 844-279-8898 phone number also will serve as a hotline for help with applications.
RRF money must be used by March 11, 2023, to cover eligible expenses such as payroll, mortgage, rent, utilities, maintenance and supplies. These expenses must have been incurred starting on Feb. 15, 2020, and ending on March 11, 2023. Eligible businesses include all types of food stands and trucks, caterers, restaurants, and bars. Brewpubs, bakeries, wineries and distilleries also are eligible if sales to the public account for at least 33 percent of the establishment’s gross receipts.