Help Coming for Restaurants and Bars

April 28, 2021 | Article

There is no doubt that the food and drink service industry took a major hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, help is on the way through the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), that will be awarded through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The funds will be available until fully expended.

Who is Eligible for Funding Through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund?
Eligible businesses include non-government operated businesses where customers and others assemble to partake of food and drink that have not permanently closed or filed for bankruptcy in certain cases.

Registration for the SBA application portal begins Friday, April 30, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. ET. Applications will start being accepted on Monday, May 3, 2021 at noon ET.

The list of eligible entities provided by the SBA includes:

  • Restaurants
  • Food stands, food trucks, food carts
  • Caterers
  • Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products
  • *Bakeries, brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms, breweries, microbreweries, wineries and distilleries (see note 1)
  • Bars, saloons, lounges, taverns
  • Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars
  • Other similar places of business in which the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being serviced food or drink
  • **Inns (see note 2)

Note 1: In order to be eligible, bakeries, brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms, breweries, microbreweries, wineries, and distilleries must provide documentation with their application that on-site sales to the public comprised at least 33% of gross receipts in 2019. For businesses that opened in 2020 or that have not yet opened, the Applicant’s original business model should have contemplated at least 33% of gross receipts in on-site sales to the public.

Note 2: To be eligible, inns must provide documentation with their application that on-site sales of food and beverage to the public comprised at least 33% of gross receipts in 2019. For inns that opened in 2020 or that have not yet opened, the Applicant's original business model should have contemplated at least 33% of gross receipts in on-site food and beverage sales to the public. 

To satisfy the general statutory requirement for "place of business in which the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink," an eligible entity must have at least 33% in 2019 on-site sales to the public. The original business model of eligible entities that opened in 2020 or that have not yet opened should have contemplated at least 33% of gross receipts in on-site sales to the public. Those entities without additional documentation requirements, such as restaurants and bars, are presumed to have on-site sales to the public comprising at least 33% of gross receipts in 2019. All applicants must attest in the application to the following "The Applicant is eligible to receive funding under the rules in effect at the time this application is submitted."

Eligible entities include any of the above entities located in an airport terminal or that operate independently (i.e. has its own tax identification number) inside another business (e.g. a restaurant that operates independently inside a hotel or conference center) or that are Tribally owned.

Who is Not Eligible for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund?
In addition to the items noted above from the Program Guide, funding from the RRF is not allowed to:

  • Those that received a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) or have a SVOG application pending
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Publicly traded companies
  • State or local government-operated businesses
  • Those that operate more than 20 locations (as of March 13, 2020, and tested with affiliated businesses)

Applicants must make a good faith certification stating the uncertainty of current economic conditions make the grant request necessary to support their ongoing operations.

Relief provisions continue to roll in for those organizations affected by COVID-19.

How Much is Awarded Through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund?
Funding requests should be over $1,000, but not more than $5 million for a single location and not more than $10 million for the applicant and all affiliated businesses.

Awards made under the RRF can be used for most business expenses incurred during the period starting February 25, 2020, and ending on March 11, 2023. Any RRF award not used by March 11, 2023, must be returned to the SBA.

An interim report is required for all RRF recipients, filed not later than December 31, 2021, to certify the use of the funds if all funds received have been expended by December 31, 2021. If RRF amounts have not been fully used by December 31, 2021, an annual reporting requirement will be needed, beginning December 31, 2021, until the funds are expended or require repayment. The SBA reserves the right to request interim supplemental information as they determine needed to validate a recipient certification of use.

How Do You Apply for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund?
Application for the RRF awards can be made by:

A sample RRF application provided by the SBA can be found here. There are many details to the RRF Program. All potential applicants are encouraged to view the SBA RRF Program Guide to get more information and examples of how to make calculations required for the application. You can also find what other documentation will be required. 


Relief provisions continue to roll in for those organizations affected by COVID-19.

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