Easy Guide to Applying to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund

women restaurant owner with yellow shirt grey apron applying for the restaurant revitalization fund

Easy Guide to Applying to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund

$28.6 Billion. That’s how much the American COVID-19 Rescue Plan has put towards the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). Applications opened on May 3rd 2021 and $2.7 Billion in financial support have already been distributed to over 21,000 restaurants within the first week alone. Whatever your stance on government, that has got to be a record. 

It’s not too late to submit your application to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund as funds are being distributed on a rolling basis and could soon be in your bank account.

What’s more, if you belong to a priority group (women and veterans), then your application will likely be reviewed before many others. After May 24th applications will be funded on a first-come, first-served basis until funds run out.

We know that government paperwork isn’t everyone’s cup-of-tea. The following guide to applying to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund was created to answer all your questions and to walk you through the application process.

Who Manages the Restaurant Revitalization Fund?

The Small Business Association (SBA), founded 1953, is an independent agency of the federal government that assists entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing resources and support in a multitude of forms from field offices to partnerships.

In the case of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, this means offering management tools and allocating financial support from the $28.6 billion dollar COVID-19 RRF to small food and beverage businesses. 

They have created partnerships, webinars, guides and online systems with the aim of awarding up to $10 million dollars per business within a week of applying. The grants do not need to be repaid so long as you qualify and use them by March 2023. 

What Can Restaurant Operators Do with the Funds?

The funds can be used for many business-related expenses including payroll costs (and sick leave), utility payments, maintenance expenses, operating expenses (like insurance, marketing, license and legal fees, and POS equipment), food and beverage expenses (including raw materials), supplies (including protective equipment and cleaning materials) and even construction of outdoor seating spaces. 

Business debt such as rent, mortgage instalments or other loans (principal and interest) is also covered. However, some things like expansion costs and prepayment of rent or debt are ineligible. 

For a full list of what’s covered see page 10 of the RRF guide.

How Much Financial Support Can Restaurants Get?

The SBA may provide restaurants with grants equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss and up to $5 million per physical location, capped at $10 million per applicant and business. The minimum award is $1,000.

Just how much financial support you may be eligible for depends on when you started operating your restaurant. Here are a few general cases: 

  1. Business in operation prior to January 1, 2019: Award Estimate = (2019 gross receipts) – (2020 gross receipts) – (loans)
  2. Began operations partially through 2019: Award Estimate = (Average 2019 monthly gross receipts x 12) – (2020 gross receipts) – (loans)
  3. Began operations between January 1, 2020 and March 10, 2021 OR not yet opened but have incurred eligible expenses: Award Estimate = (Amount spent on eligible expenses between February 15, 2020 and March 11, 2021) – (2020 gross receipts) – (2021 gross receipts. through March 11, 2021) – (loans)

For an exact calculation of your potential financial support from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund see page 7-9 of the RRF guide.

Who Can Apply?

All food & beverage businesses for whom at least one third of their income is from onsite sales are eligible to apply. Restaurants, food trucks, caterers, bars and even bakeries and bowling alleys are not required to provide any evidence of this. However, breweries, wineries, tasting rooms and the like will need to submit proof that they meet the 33% minimum of onsite sales, or that they established business after Jan 1, 2020. 

Here is a full list of who can apply.

For the next week (until May 24th), the SBA will give applications owned by women, veterans or other socially or economically disadvantaged persons a priority. 

2 Steps to Applying for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund

covid 19 resources for restaurants

Funds are ultimately limited and applications will be reviewed in the order they are submitted. Set out some quiet time as soon as possible to go through this list and collect the supporting materials you may need. 

1. Prepare

Start by taking 60 minutes to view this Webinar and study the screenshots from the application portal. They will you help understand what’s in store. 

Review the official RRF web-page to learn about any additional documentation you might be asked for.

Read this official guide (22 pages). All the application questions are listed in this printable Sample Application you can use to prepare your answers. 

In case you still have questions, this Searchable RFF FAQ database should have the answers. 

2. Apply

There are two easy ways to apply to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund: 

  1. Directly on RRF portal – HERE; or
  2. Through your Point of Sale (POS) provider. The SBA recently announced that it has partnered with Clover®, NCR Corporation (Aloha), Square, Toast and Oracle to allow eligible food businesses to fill-out the RRF application directly through the POS system, making it even easier to upload the business data required. 

Not sure which Point of Sale system is best for your businesses? Compare the top 5 POS Systems for Restaurants: Square vs Upserve vs Toast vs SpotOn vs Revel.

Cheetah Support After Applying

e-commerce food distributor platform

Whether you’re struggling to complete your application or have a question after applying, Cheetah is here to offer our support. 

Call us anytime to ask for help or check out our go-to collection of essential resources for COVID-19 relief and support or download the FREE guide to restaurant reopening which is packed with practical checklists and suggestions.

For technical support, check out the National Restaurant Association step-by-step resource to guide you through the application process. 

Another way to streamline the application process as well as to apply for other types of restaurant loans and financing is to turn to SMB lenders such as Lendistry call center or Credibly.

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