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How the Restaurant Revitalization Fund works

Applications for the SBA’s food and beverage service grant program are now open.

The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund as an emergency assistance program for food service businesses. If your business qualifies, you can use the grant to cover COVID-19 related losses for almost two years. Applications opened on May 3, 2021 to a limited number of businesses before being rolled out to all eligible restaurants on May 24, 2021.

What is the Restaurant Revitalization Fund?

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is a $25 billion grant program for restaurants and other food service businesses that have been affected by coronavirus outbreak-related shutdowns.

Restaurants can apply for a total of $10 million — or $5 million per physical location — based on their revenue losses during the pandemic. Since it’s a grant, you don’t have to apply for forgiveness, unlike previous coronavirus assistance programs. However, you’re technically required to repay any funds you don’t use for eligible business purposes by March 11, 2023.

Who qualifies

You don’t need to have a sit-down establishment to get a Restaurant Revitalization Grant. The following types of businesses can qualify for this program:

  • Restaurants
  • Food stands, trucks and carts
  • Caterers
  • Bars, saloons, lounges and taverns
  • Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars

Any other business where people primarily assemble for food or drink can also qualify, like a vineyard or distillery. This also includes businesses that are located in airports or tribally-owned land — usually outside of the federal government’s reach.

Potentially eligible businesses

These types of businesses might also qualify for a grant — but only if on-site sales made up at least a third of pre-pandemic gross receipts.

  • Inns
  • Bakeries
  • Wineries and distilleries
  • Brewpubs, tasting rooms and tap rooms
  • Breweries and microbreweries

Businesses that received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program can still qualify for this grant. But a PPP loan will reduce how much you’re eligible to receive.

Ineligible restaurants

Even if your business falls into one of the eligible categories, the following types of businesses can’t qualify for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund:

  • State or local government-operated businesses
  • Businesses owned or operated with more than 20 locations as of March 13, 2020
  • Businesses that received a shuttered venue grant
  • Public companies

How to apply

You can apply for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund either through an SBA-recognized point of sale (POS) partner, by calling 844-279-8898 or online through the SBA’s online portal. Generally you’ll follow these steps if you apply through the SBA:
  1. Gather the documents required to complete the application and scan any documents that aren’t already on your computer as uploadable documents.
  2. Register with the Restaurant Revitalization Award Portal on the SBA’s website.
  3. Log in to your account and complete the questionnaire and attestations to make sure your business is eligible and calculate your grant amount.
  4. Upload all required documents to your application.
  5. Check your email for a DocuSign package and sign it. The SBA won’t review your application until this has been submitted.

The SBA should take about 14 days to review your application. You can check the status of your application at any time by logging into your account. Once it’s reached a decision, the SBA will send you an email — and if approved the SBA will deposit the funds into the bank account you linked on the application.

Unlike with the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, you do not need to be registered with the government’s System for Award Management, or SAM.gov, to apply for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. You also don’t need to provide a Dun & Bradstreet number (DUNS) or Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code when you complete the application.

Should I apply through the SBA or a POS partner?

The SBA recommends that you apply through a POS partner if you use one — they have more capability to process the application.

You can check the SBA’s website to see if the the companies you use for point of sale software, hardware and payment services are partners. If not, apply through the SBA’s portal — or over the phone if you don’t have internet access.

Required documents

All businesses are required to provide the following documents when applying for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund:

  • Business tax returns — either IRS form 1120 or IRS form 1120-S
  • IRS Form 1040 Schedule C or IRS Form 1040 Schedule F
  • IRS Form 1065, including K-1s, for registered partnerships
  • Bank statements
  • Financial statements, such as income statements or profit and loss statements
  • Point of sales reports — including IRS form 1099-K

Additional requirements for businesses with sales requirements

If your business is required to receive at least 33% of receipts from on-site sales, you must submit documented evidence of those receipts. This can include the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) form 5130.9 if your business was established in 2019.

Businesses that opened in 2020 must show that their business model expected at least 33% of sales to be from on-site sales to the public.

When can I apply?

Applications are rolling out in two phases. Between May 3, 2021 and May 24, 2021 applications will only be available to the following types of businesses:

  • Women-owned businesses
  • Veteran-owned businesses
  • Businesses owned by socially or economically disadvantaged individuals

After May 24, 2021, all eligible businesses have until December 31, 2021 to apply for this grant program.

Calculating your grant amount

While grants max out at $10 million, how much you receive depends on the revenue your business lost due to the coronavirus outbreak and if it received a PPP loan.

Businesses that were established before January 1, 2019, can calculate their grant amount by subtracting your 2020 gross receipts from your 2019 gross receipts.

Businesses that were established during 2019 can receive a grant equal to the difference between:

  • Average monthly 2019 gross receipts, multiplied by 12
  • 2020 gross receipts, multiplied by 12, minus any PPP loan amounts

Businesses that were established on or after January 1, 2020, can receive a grant equal to the amount they spent on eligible expenses between February 15, 2020 and March 11, 2021, less the following amounts:

  • 2020 gross receipts
  • 2021 gross receipts through March 11
  • PPP loan amounts

What’s an eligible payroll cost?

The SBA uses the same definition of payroll costs as it does for the PPP when it comes to determining your grant amount — with a few exceptions. You can’t count any wages you wrote off to get the Employee Retention Tax Credit toward your Restaurant Revitalization Grant. Same applies to COBRA-related healthcare premiums that you deducted from your taxes.

How you can use the funds

You can use the funds to cover any of the following types of expenses that your business incurred between February 15, 2020, and March 11, 2023.

  • Payroll expenses — as defined by the PPP
  • Mortgage payments, including principal and interest
  • Rent
  • Business debt payments, including principal and interest
  • Utilities in service before March 11, 2021
  • Construction of an outdoor seating area
  • Maintenance of walls, floors, fixtures, furniture, deck surfaces and equipment
  • Supplies — including personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies
  • Food and beverage expenses you would have incurred under normal circumstances
  • Paid sick leave
  • Operating expenses
  • Supplier costs

Reporting use of funds

All recipients are required to report how much of the funds they’ve used on eligible expenses by December 31, 2021 — though you’re not required to use the full amount by that date. If you’ve used the full grant on eligible expenses by that date, you’re required to certify that you used the award on eligible expenses.

All other recipients are required to report their spending annually until they’ve either fully spent the funds or March 11, 2023 — whichever is sooner. While you aren’t required to submit proof that you used the grant appropriately, the SBA can ask to see documentation

Other resources for restaurant owners

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund isn’t the only grant program that food service businesses can apply for. Before you apply, make sure your business doesn’t qualify for more funds through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG).

If your business already received a PPP loan, it might be eligible to receive more funds through the Second Draw loan program thanks to a new formula for the accommodation and food service industry. Or consider a First Draw PPP loan. You have until May 31, 2021 to apply and can still receive a Restaurant Revitalization Grant to cover expenses the PPP doesn’t.

Also be on the lookout for how this program will affect eligibility for local grant and loan programs. Sometimes these smaller programs only offer funds to businesses that haven’t received federal funding.

Apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan today

Below is a list of online lenders offering SBA Paycheck Protection Program loans. While applications are open until May 31, 2021, we recommend applying as soon as possible. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis and may run out. Get help filling out the application with our guide.

Name Product Min. Credit Score Turnaround Time Required Documents
Lendio business loans
As soon as 1 business day
Submit one simple application to potentially get offers from a network of over 300 legit business lenders.
ROK Financial business loans
Not stated
A connection service for all types of businesses — even startups.
Fora Financial business loans
Get qualified for funding in minutes for up to $500,000 without affecting your credit score. Best for companies with at least six figures in annual revenue.
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