The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund

Gusto Editors

Applications for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) are open! Funds will go quickly, so go here to apply.

To provide financial relief to businesses and individuals across the country, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act, 2021 (ARPA) into law in March of 2021. This bill included the creation of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), which is a grant program for restaurants (and other food and beverage establishments) aimed at easing the financial burdens that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic.

The RRF is a $28.6 billion program and will provide restaurants with funding equal to pandemic-related revenue loss (up to $10 million per business, and no more than $5 million per physical location). As long as the rules and regs are followed (which are detailed below) grant recipients are not required to pay anything back.

It’s free money!

Eligibility for RRF

Eligibility includes a number of different parameters, like what kind of business you run, how your business is structured, how many locations you have, and lots more.

Let’s get into it . . .

Business types that are eligible are:

  • Restaurants
  • Food trucks and/or food carts
  • Food stands and/or kiosks
  • Caterers
  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Taverns and/or bistros
  • Snack bars
  • Bakeries
  • Breweries and/or microbreweries
  • Wineries
  • Distilleries
  • Tasting and/or taprooms
  • Inns

Organization types that are eligible:

Other eligibility requirements include:

Revenue: Any eligible applicant must make at least 33 percent of gross receipts in 2019 from sales from a physical location. Most applicants will simply be required to attest to this on the application, but certain entities will be required to provide documentation to prove it.

Revenue loss: Eligible businesses must have experienced revenue loss.

Recipients of other COVID-19 financial relief: PPP and EIDL recipients and applicants are eligible for RRF, while those who have received or have pending applications for Shuttered Venues Operators Grant (SVOG) are not eligible.

Locations: Eligible applicants must have fewer than 21 locations

Ineligible businesses include:

  • non-profits companies
  • publicly traded companies
  • those that are permanently closed
  • those that have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy
  • those that have a pending application for, or have received a Shuttered Venues Operators Grant (SVOG)
  • those who do their RRF calculation (don’t worry: we’ll walk you through how to do that calculation below) and are only eligible for $1,000 or less in grant funding

The covered period for RRF

Grant funding must be spent on eligible expenses incurred between February 15, 2020 and March 11, 2023; if you are unable to use all the funds by the March 11th deadline, you must return unused money. If the business permanently shuts down before March 11th, the last day of operation will also be the last day of the covered period.

Eligible expenses for RRF

The grant proceeds must be spent on eligible expenses incurred between February 15, 2020 and March 11, 2023.

These are:

  • Operating expenses that are incurred in normal daily businesses operations
  • Payroll costs
  • Paid leave costs for employees
  • Group healthcare costs (including vision and dental)
  • Life and disability benefit costs
  • Mortgage payments
  • Utility payments (utility service must have started before March 11, 2021)
  • Payment on debt incurred from the business
  • Maintenance expenses required to maintain physical location
  • Outdoor seating and service construction
  • Cost of PPE and cleaning supplies
  • Other business supplies
  • Food and beverage expenses
  • Certain supplier costs

How to apply for RRF

You can apply online here or by phone at (844) 279-8898. Applications will open on Monday, May 3, 2021 at 12PM EST, but it is strongly recommended that register before applying. Funds for RRF will likely run out quickly, so you want to be prepared. Go to that same link to register.

How to calculate your RRF grant amount for the application

In order to apply, you must calculate the RRF grant amount you are requesting. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Find the gross receipts number you reported on your 2019 tax return

Step 2: Find the gross receipts number you reported on your 2020 tax return. (This number should not include any funds from PPP, EIDL, or any SBA loans)

Step 3: Subtract the 2020 gross receipts number from the 2019 gross receipts number to get your Revenue Loss:

2019 Gross Receipts – 2020 Gross Receipts = Revenue Loss

Step 4: To get your RRF Grant Request number, subtract any funding received from PPP from your Revenue Loss number:

Revenue Loss – PPP Funding Amount = RRF Grant Request

Step 5: If the RRF Grant Request number is more than $5 million per location, reduce the number to $5 million per location.

That’s the amount you are requesting on your RRF application!

When you can expect the RRF grant money to come through

Applications will be accepted from all applicants starting on May 3, 2021, (again, it’s important you register early and get your RRF application ready now), but the timing of approvals and grant awards will prioritize businesses that need the most help.

Within the first 21 days, funding will go to businesses that are at least 51 percent owned by females, veterans, and/or socially and economically disadvantaged people.

Dedicated funding for smallest and underserved businesses

The entire RRF fund is $28.6 billion; of that money, a certain amount has been set aside and dedicated to the smallest businesses and those in underserved communities:

  • $5 billion is set aside for RRF applicants with 2019 gross receipts of less than $500,000.
  • $4 billion is set aside for applicants with 2019 gross receipts between $500,001 – $1,500,000.
  • $500 million is set aside for applicants with 2019 gross receipts of less than $50,000.

Now, go register and get that application ready!

Gusto Editors Gusto Editors, contributing authors on Gusto, provide actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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