How to Apply for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund
Over the weekend, The SBA shared long-awaited details on the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund, including a sample application and program guide as operators brace for what promises to be a crowded pool of entries.
SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said funds would be administered to the “hardest-hit small restaurants.”
“Today [Saturday, April 17], we are starting the process to help restaurants and bars across the country devastated by the pandemic, and this is our message: Help is here,” Guzman said. “With the launch of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, 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. And, thanks to clear directives from Congress, we’re rolling out this program to make sure that these businesses can meet payroll, purchase supplies, and get what they need in place to transition to today’s COVID-restricted marketplace.”
Guzman added the SBA was particularly focused on ensuring the RRF’s application process was “streamlined and free of burdensome, bureaucratic hurdles.”
“Under my leadership, the SBA aims to be as entrepreneurial as the entrepreneurs we serve—and that means meeting every small business where they are, and giving them the support they need to recover, rebuild and thrive,” he said.
One of the key differences between the RRF and Paycheck Protection Program is that banks, local lenders, and community development financial institutions will not be involved in distributing funds. It will be administered entirely through the SBA, which to Guzman’s point, levels a certain responsibility on the organization to offer “robust oversight” and avoid prior PPP issues. Namely—and clear from Guzman’s comments—that small restaurants aren’t left in the dark. In the initial PPP go-around, criticism rolled in quickly from operators claiming they were boxed out by larger corporations. Many of those bigger brands that secured PPP loans, like Shake Shack, eventually gave them back.
This makes this next announcement, on timing, an understandable one. Ahead of the application launch and over the next two weeks, the SBA said it would establish a seven-day pilot period for the RRF application portal and “conduct extensive outreach and training.”
The pilot will be used, the SBA said, to address technical issues ahead of public launch.
Participants in the pilot will be randomly selected from existing PPP borrowers in priority groups for RRF and will not receive funds until the application portal is open to the public.
Following the test, the application portal will open to the public. The SBA did not provide an exact date, only to say it would be announced later.
As noted previously, the first 21 days of the program will prioritize applications from small businesses owned by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
Essentially, the SBA will accept applications from ALL eligible applicants out of the gate, but only process and fund priority group applications.
So restaurants can (and most likely should) get their applications in from launch. The SBA said, starting day 22 through “funds exhaustion,” it will accept applications from all eligible applicants and process applications in the order in which they are approved by SBA.
How the priority groups break down:
A small business concern that is at least 51 percent owned by one or more individuals who are:
- Socially and economically disadvantaged (see below).
Applicants must self-certify on the application that they meet eligibility requirements
Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities.
Economically disadvantaged individuals are those socially disadvantaged individuals whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same business area who are not socially disadvantaged.
The SBA is setting aside $5 billion for applications with 2019 gross receipts of no more than $500,000 (in an effort to give small restaurants needed aid).
An additional $4 billion is being locked in for applications with 2019 gross receipts from $500,001 to $1.5 million.
And then $500 million more is being set aside for applications with 2019 gross receipts of no more than $50,000.
“Local restaurants and bars are being served very good news today,” Erika Polmar, executive director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, said in a statement “These guidelines were crafted by the SBA after conversations with independent restaurant and bar operators across the country. We are grateful to the SBA for their hard work to make this process as accessible as possible in a short period of time.”
There will be three ways to apply for RRF grants when the day arrives.
No. 1, through a recognized “SBA Restaurant Partner.” No. 2, through SBA directly at restaurants.sba.gov, and via phone at 844.279.8898.
The SBA said reviews will take about 14 days “provided complete and validated documentation.” Applicants will be able to check their status on the application portal.
If approved, funds will automatically be deposited to the bank account entered into the application.
Registration with SAM.gov is not required. DUNS or CAGE identifiers are also not required.
What is a SBA Restaurant Partner? The SBA developed partnerships with multiple tech companies that provide software, hardware, and payments services to the industry to “help ensure wide and equitable distribution of relief,” it said.
Under the label of “SBA’s Restaurant Partners or SBA’s Point-of-Sale (POS) Restaurant Partners.” It did not provide a list. So check with your POS or tech vendors.
Restaurants will be able to apply for funding straight through one of these partner’s websites or secure portal. The SBA said it encourages operators to take this route if possible give “it will save time in preparing and processing the application.”
The SBA created a call center hotline to help with the process at 844.279.8898
What you’ll need:
- Verification for Tax Information: IRS Form 4506-T, completed and signed by Applicant. Completion of this form digitally on the SBA platform will satisfy this requirement.
- Gross Receipts Documentation: Any of the following documents demonstrating gross receipts and, if applicable, eligible expenses
- Business tax returns (IRS Form 1120 or IRS 1120-S)
- IRS Forms 1040 Schedule C; IRS Forms 1040 Schedule F
- For a partnership: partnership’s IRS Form 1065 (including K-1s)
- Bank statements
- Externally or internally prepared financial statements such as Income Statements or Profit and Loss Statements
- Point of sale report(s), including IRS Form 1099-K
For applicants that are a brewpub, tasting room, taproom, brewery, winery, distillery, or bakery:
Documents evidencing that onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33 percent of gross receipts for 2019, which may include Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) Forms 5130.9 or TTB. For businesses who opened in 2020, the Applicant’s original business model should have contemplated at least 33 percent of gross receipts in onsite sales to the public.
For applicants that are an inn:
Documents evidencing that onsite sales of food and beverage to the public comprise at least 33.00% of gross receipts for 2019. For businesses who opened in 2020, the Applicant’s original business model should have contemplated at least 33 percent of gross receipts in onsite sales to the public.
Let’s get into some other details provided Saturday by the SBA.
Center to differences between the SBA and PPP is how funds can be used. The PPP required a 60/40 (it was originally 75/25) split between payroll expenses and other costs in order to get the grant forgiven.
The RRF opens that up. Funds can be used for the following expenses:
- Business payroll costs (including sick leave)
- Payments on any business mortgage obligation
- Business rent payments (note: this does not include prepayment of rent)
- Business debt service (both principal and interest; note: this does not include any prepayment of principal or interest)
- Business utility payments
- Business maintenance expenses
- Construction of outdoor seating
- Business supplies (including protective equipment and cleaning materials)
- Business food and beverage expenses (including raw materials)
- Covered supplier costs
- Business operating expenses
Companies that receive funds must use all of them by March 11, 2023 on eligible expenses incurred beginning February 15, 2020. If the business permanently closes, the covered period will end when the business permanently closes or on March 11, 2023, whichever occurs sooner.
Awardees that are unable to use all Restaurant Revitalization funds on eligible expenses by the end of the covered period must return any unused funds to the government.
How much money will you get?
Here’s how to calculate payment, from the SBA:
Calculation 1: for applicants in operation prior to or on January 1, 2019:
- 2019 gross receipts minus 2020 gross receipts minus PPP loan amounts
Calculation 2: for applicants that began operations partially through 2019:
- (Average 2019 monthly gross receipts x 12) minus 2020 gross receipts minus PPP loan amounts
Calculation 3: for applicants that began operations on or between January 1, 2020 and March 10, 2021 and applicants not yet opened but have incurred eligible expenses:
- Amount spent on eligible expenses between February 15, 2020 and March 11,2021 minus 2020 gross receipts minus PPP loan amounts
For those entities that began operations partially through 2019, you may elect (at your own discretion) to use either calculation 2 or calculation 3.
Maximum and minimum amounts
SBA may provide funding up to $5 million per location, not to exceed $10 million total for the applicant and any affiliated businesses. The minimum award is $1,000.
For the purposes of this program, gross receipts does not include:
- Amounts received from Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans (First Draw or Second Draw)
- Amounts received from Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
- Advances on EIDL (EIDL Advance and Targeted EIDL Advance)
- State and local grants (via CARES Act or otherwise)
- SBA Section 1112 payments
The SBA said, upon applying for the RRF, applicants should withdraw any outstanding PPP application.
Here’s a list of which kind of venues can apply, with some details cleared up. Eligible entities have to had experienced “pandemic-related revenue loss.”
To satisfy the 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 percent 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 percent 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 percent 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.”
The SBA added this includes entities include any of the below 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 a Tribally- owned concern.
- Food stands, food trucks, food carts
- Bars, saloons, lounges, taverns
- Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars
- Bakeries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33 percent of gross receipts)
- Brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33 percent of gross receipts)
- Breweries and/or microbreweries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33 percent of gross receipts)
- Wineries and distilleries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33 percent of gross receipts)
- Inns (onsite sales of food and beverage to the public comprise at least 33 percent of gross receipts)
- Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products
As of March 13, 2020, the restaurant must own or operate (together with any affiliated business) 20 or fewer locations, regardless of name or type of business at those locations.
This is the section that brings franchisees into the mix—a key ask of the National Restaurant Association during early talks.
How that’s worded by the SBA: “An Affiliated Business or affiliate is a business in which an eligible entity has an equity interest or right to profit distributions of not less than 50 percent, or in which an eligible entity has the contractual authority to control the direction of the business, provided that such affiliation shall be determined as of any arrangements or agreements in existence as of March 13, 2020.”
For franchisees specifically: If the Applicant is operating under a franchise or similar agreement that meets the Federal Trade Commission definition of a franchise in 16 CFR 436. The franchise must be listed on the SBA Franchise Directory with a franchise identifier code to ensure the franchise is eligible under SBA’s other eligibility criteria (e.g., 13 CFR § 120.110)
For brands not listed on the Directory (including brands that have previously been denied listing on the Directory because of affiliation issues), the franchisor must submit the Franchise Disclosure Document (or other agreement) and all other documents a franchisee is required to sign to [email protected] for review of SBA’s other eligibility criteria (e.g., 13 CFR § 120.110).
Who is not eligible?
A permanently closed venue. Any state or local-government-operated business. A company that filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or Chapter 11, 12, or 13 but is not operating.
Companies operating under an approved plan of reorganization under Chapter 11, 12, or 13 are eligible.
Temporarily closed restaurants are eligible as well. Additionally, those opening soon, with expenses incurred as of March 11, 2021.
All non-profit organizations and publicly traded companies are not eligible.
These forms of organizations can apply:
- C Corporations
- Limited Liability Companies
- Sole proprietors
- Self-employed individuals
- Independent contractors
- Tribal businesses
There’s important language around cross-program eligibility, too, in terms of different funding options. Details on that can be found here. But one thing to note is that PPP loans received by an RRF application will affect the applicant’s funding calculation. Entities that have a pending application for or received an RRF are not eligible to apply for Shuttered Venue Operators Grants. They can, however, still apply for EIDL and RRF. The same business can not apply for RRF more than once.
For more on any segment explored, download the program guide at the top.