Pandemic restrictions are easing around the country and diner demand is flourishing, but many operators are still struggling to make up for lost revenue. After the Restaurant Revitalization Fund closed, the National Restaurant Association urged states to establish local grant funds to support restaurants now that federal aid — at least temporarily — is off the table. Financial safety nets are even more crucial in the wake of the Small Business Administration's revocation of grant approvals for thousands of restaurants.
In the interim, states are creating financial safety nets to keep their restaurant economies afloat. Catch up on the latest grant fund launches here:
Ohio: $100 million
The Buckeye state began accepting applications for a $100 million restaurant grant fund on June 29. Eligible businesses include buffets, cafeterias, food trucks, caterers, snack and juice bars, coffee shops, bars, taverns and nightclubs. Operators that have been in business since Dec. 1, 2019, and have at least one location in Ohio can apply for grants worth $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000 depending on the extent of their 2020 revenue losses. Restaurants must prove at least a 10% reduction in 2020 revenue at one or more Ohio locations.
Here's how the grants are calculated:
- 10%-30% 2020 revenue loss: $10,000 grant
- 30%-50% 2020 revenue loss: $20,000 grant
- 51% or more 2020 revenue loss: $30,000 grant
$500,000 of the funding will be distributed to eligible businesses in each of Ohio's 88 counties on a first-come, first-served basis. The second half of the pot will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis regardless of their location. The grants can be spent on expenses including rent, utilities, personal protective equipment and payroll.
Operators can email [email protected] with questions.
New Jersey: $30 million
On June 22, Gov. Phil Murphy signed six bills that grant additional aid to small businesses that are still recovering from the impact of COVID-19. The relief package includes $30 million set aside for bars and restaurants, as well as a $25 million fund for new restaurants, retailers and service providers the state needs to fill vacant storefronts in a wake of pandemic-induced business closures.
The $30 million pot is split into $20 million in grants for restaurant operators, and the remaining $10 million will be disbursed in allotments of between $100,000 to $2 million to entities that make bulk restaurant meal purchases from restaurants that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic to feed the needy. The $10 million is the latest phase of the state's Sustain and Serve N.J. Program, which was launched in February and disbursed $14 million to 28 charities to buy 1.5 million meals from more than 340 restaurants. Applications for the program will close on July 18.
New York: $60 million
On April 8, the New York State Legislature passed a $212 budget for fiscal 2021-2022 that includes the $25 million New York Restaurant Resiliency Grant Program that gives funds to restaurants that give meals to distressed and under-represented communities. The budget also provides up to $35 million for the Restaurant Return-To-Work Tax Credit through 2021 to help operators rehire workers. These programs have not yet begun accepting applications.