While most industries were impacted by COVID-19 in the last year, few were hit as hard as the hospitality industry. The American Rescue Plan Act recognized the need to provide additional assistance to eligible restaurants, bars, and other qualifying businesses by establishing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RFF). This program provides funding equal to COVID-19 revenue losses up to $10 million per business with no more than $5 million per location. The funds do not have to be repaid if they are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023. This program opened on May 3 and has already provided economic relief to 16,000 applicants.
Who is eligible for RFF grants?
Food and beverage related businesses who have experienced COVID-19 related lost revenue are eligible:
Food stands, food trucks, food carts
Bars, saloons, lounges, taverns
Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars
Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products
For the following businesses onsite sales to the public must comprise at least 33% of sales:
Brewpubs, tasting rooms, and taprooms
Breweries and/or microbreweries
Wineries and distilleries
If, as of March 13, 2020, a business owned or operated more than 20 locations, it is not eligible. In addition, businesses that are permanently closed, filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, or are liquidating under Chapter 11 are not eligible.
Are franchisees like McDonald’s or Wendy's ineligible for restaurant grants?
While publicly traded companies are ineligible to apply for grants, franchisees are eligible to apply as long as the applicant is listed on the SBA Franchise Directory. The important distinction here is larger establishments cannot control the direction of smaller businesses nor is an “affiliated business,” according to the National Restaurant Association.
The list of eligible expenditures is extensive and covers a large portion of the costs already incurred by your business.
Payroll costs (including sick leave)
Business debt service (both principal and interest)
Maintenance expenses – includes updating equipment and/or enhancing it to support your ability to ensure customer, employee, and food safety
Construction of outdoor seating
Supplies (including PPE and cleaning materials)
Food and beverage expenses
Covered supplier costs
Business operating expenses
How can I update my restaurant equipment to ensure customer, employee and food safety?
With COVID-19 health guidelines issued by the CDC, it is critical for restaurants to incorporate technology that provides transparency for daily operations. In addition to loss prevention, video camera surveillance also monitors compliance of safety standards in real-time, such as:
Appropriate use of masks
Cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces, tables and more
Adherence to Social Distancing Guidelines
How can I apply for the grant and what will I need?
You can apply directly with the SBA or through SBA-recognized Point of Sale (POS) vendors. Participating POS vendors include NCR Corporation (Aloha), Oracle, Square, Toast, and Clover. Filling out the application should take less than an hour, but plan for an hour. Also, gather all materials needed beforehand.
So, what are you waiting for? This program is ready to help you position your restaurant to survive and thrive to deliver great food to your customers!
Steve Spiech is the CFO of ITech Digital. Steve has 10+ years of experience in the security space and partners with businesses to optimize their finance departments and provide remote fractional finance support.
Does your equipment meet increased COVID-19 safety standards?
Learn more about how video surveillance and POS technology can help restaurants meet and exceed safety standards.