- The Small Business Administration closed the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Wednesday, the agency wrote to RRF recipients in an email viewed by Restaurant Dive. Applicants who didn't receive funding as of Wednesday will have their applications held within the application platform to allow for processing in the order received if the fund is refilled by Congress.
- The SBA will disable access to RRF's portal on July 14. Until then, applicants can continue to check their status, address payment corrections and ask questions. The SBA closed the RRF to new applications on May 24.
- Lawmakers, along with the National Restaurant Association and Independent Restaurant Coalition, are pushing for the fund to be refilled with $60 billion.This amount is more than double the fund's allotment of $28.6 billion. More than 265,000 restaurant operators applied for the RRF's federal relief but did not receive funding, according to the SBA.
The RRF received more than 370,000 applications, but it's $28.6 billion only covered 105,000 operators, or less than one-third of applications. The program has been a lifeline for many small business, however — the agency reports that 3,777 restaurants with gross receipts of less than $50,000 in 2019 received RRF grants.
Still, the IRC says this funding isn't enough to revive the struggling industry.
"When the IRC formed last year, we asked for $120 billion in relief because we knew the crisis facing independent restaurants was that dire," Erika Polmar, IRC's executive director, said in a statement. "The initial $28.6 billion in the Restaurant Revitalization Fund was always meant to be, as Majority Leader Schumer says, a ‘downpayment’ on a larger program that could ensure everyone who needs help can get it."
The NRA is also urging Congress to infuse more cash into the fund to prevent further restaurant closures.
"Many [restaurants] are in the ironic position of seeing indoor dining resume but are taking in less revenue amidst rising food prices and inadequate staffing to fully open. These operators have made all of the cuts and changes they can to stay open for the last year and are once again worried they won't make it another month," Sean Kennedy, NRA's executive vice president of public affairs, said in a statement. "We need Congress to act on the RRF Replenishment Act to provide the SBA with the funds they need to complete this important mission.”