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Restaurant Revitalization Fund Provides Hope to the Food and Beverage Industry—But Applicants Will Need to Act Fast

March 23, 2021

By: Jacqueline Bozzuto & Alyson C. Hoffman

When the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319, the “ARP”) became public law on March 11, 2021, it was the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began that relief for the restaurant industry was specifically addressed. The ARP is a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill targeting struggling small businesses, providing funding in the form of loans and grants to help the American economy weather the pandemic through the end of 2021.

Aside from the restaurant-specific relief, the ARP provides a broad range of pandemic-related relief, including:

  • Expanded federal unemployment insurance
  • An additional stimulus payment to individuals making less than $75,000/year
  • $350 billion for state and local governments
  • $75 billion for COVID-19 testing, vaccination production and distribution
  • $130 billion to assist K-12 public schools reopen under COVID-19 safe parameters
  • A third round of Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans

Prior to the ARP, the PPP program provided an economic life vest for most private American companies, but the food and beverage sector was left wanting. State and local COVID-19 operating mandates forced most of the food and beverage industry to either close or resort to take-out only operations with limited staff, which made compliance with the PPP loan forgiveness program nearly impossible. Now, our favorite taverns, wineries, food trucks and restaurants have hope.   

What is the Restaurant Revitalization Fund?

A major component of the ARP is the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (the “RRF”), a $28.6 billion grant to help local bars and restaurants that will be administered by the U.S. Small Business Association (the “SBA”). Although the SBA has not yet released specifics on the grant application, $28.6 billion will go fast. It is imperative that those eligible entities wishing to participate in the RRF register with the federal government using the System of Award Management (SAM) as soon as possible. Registration instructions are included at the bottom of this article. 

Who is eligible to receive an RRF grant?

The RRF will be available to “eligible entities” who can show gross revenue deficits between 2019 and 2020. The RRF defines “eligible entities” as restaurants, food stands, food trucks, food carts, caterers, saloons, inns, taverns, bars, lounges, brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms, and licensed facilities or premises of beverage alcohol producers where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products.

How much can an eligible entity receive?

The maximum RRF grant will be $5 million per location and $10 million per restaurant group. Restaurant groups with more than twenty (20) locations, as well as government-run or publicly traded companies, will be excluded from participating in the RRF program. For multi-brand operators, the twenty (20) location cap will still apply. You should contact your attorney or accountant if you have questions regarding your establishment’s eligibility to participate in the RRF.

An applicant’s grant amount will be calculated by subtracting 2020 revenues from those in 2019, and a modified formula will be used for those restaurants not open for the entire calendar year of 2019 or 2020. Amounts received under the PPP from either the first or second draw will be deducted from the grant amount.

What are eligible expenses under the RRF grant?

Unlike the PPP, the RRF grant does not have a percentage use requirement towards wages of employees, and the grant does not need to paid back to the federal treasury if used in full for eligible expenses before December 31, 2021. It should be noted that such grants will need to be returned if a grant recipient permanently ceases operations on or before December 31, 2021.

The grant funds can be used for a variety of expenses including but not limited to:

  • Payroll
  • Paid sick leave
  • Principal and interest payments on mortgages
  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Maintenance and supply expenses
  • Other food and beverage expenses that are “within the scope of the normal business practice”

How will RRF grants be prioritized?

The first 21 days of the RRF will prioritize eligible entities owned by women, ethnic minorities and veterans. For the first 60 days, $5 billion of the $28.6 billion will be set aside for those eligible entities with gross revenues of $500,000 or less in 2019. After the initial 60-day period, remaining funds will be opened up to higher-earning establishments.

How do you apply for the RRF grant?

To register in the SAM system, entities should follow the following steps and obtain the following identifying information:

  • Create a log-in user account at login.gov 
  • Sign up for a Dun and Bradstreet number ("DUNS number") (please note, this could take up to two (2) business days
  • Using your log-in information from login.gov, DUNS number, and Federal Tax ID number, you will now be able to register with SAM. Once registration with SAM is complete, you will be provided with a SAM number for use in your grant application. Please note, your SAM registration could take up to 2 weeks and it is unclear when the SBA will begin accepting grant applications.

As noted above, interested eligible entities should contact their accountant and attorney as soon as possible to maximum their chances of receiving grant funds.


This article is informational only. You should consult an attorney before acting or failing to act. The law may change rapidly and no warranty is given. LOWNDES DISCLAIMS ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ALL ARTICLES ARE PROVIDED AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS. Consult a Lowndes attorney if you wish to establish an attorney/client relationship.
Jacqueline

Jackie Bozzuto has extensive experience mapping out strategies for real estate development and finance for the hospitality industry and beyond. She has also assisted clients with acquiring portfolios out of bankruptcy estates, as well as multi-site and multi-state purchases and sales.


Goal-oriented, organized, gifted relationship-builder and connector of people. These skills, along with decades of experience in the restaurant industry, have earned Jackie the reputation of “trusted advisor” to clients.

Born and raised around her family’s commercial real estate, investment and management business in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and later in south Florida, Jackie was exposed early on to running businesses smoothly. Her family operated restaurants for a number of years as well, and she transferred her love of all things culinary to advising clients on the operational side of the business. She helps clients, both locally and nationally, streamline their processes, develop acquisition programs and expand their portfolios.

Jackie’s experience mapping out strategies for real estate development and finance, including commercial leasing, extends beyond the hospitality industry. She has also represented clients acquiring hundred-million-dollar portfolios out of bankruptcy estates, as well as other multi-site and multi-state purchases and sales. In addition, she assists foreign entities and individuals with setting up optimal tax structures for ownership of residential and commercial property in the U.S.

Clients appreciate Jackie’s attention to detail, respect for their budgets, and commitment to getting the job done. They are also amazed by her ability to bring people together who will benefit from networking with each other. She is well connected in the Central Florida community, currently serving on the Governmental Affairs Committee of CFHLA (Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association). A frequent speaker at high-profile hospitality industry events, she is the immediate past president of CREW-Orlando (Commercial Real Estate Women) and serves on numerous other boards and committees as well.

Beyond her service to clients and community, Jackie enjoys cooking, traveling, and race car driving.

Jackie has worked with many repeat clients, including:

Applebee’s
Bonefish Grill
Brass Tap
Burger King
Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Fleming’s Prime Steak House & Wine Bar
IHOP
Jeremiah’s Italian Ice
Megastron Development
Outback Steakhouse
Roy’s
Seymour International
Wendy’s
Wing Stop

Alyson

Alyson C. Hoffman is an attorney in the Corporate, Business and Tax Department, working out of the firm's Orlando and Melbourne offices. She primarily focuses her practice on sophisticated estate planning and complex estate and trust administration.

Committed to knowing her clients personally and understanding their goals, Alyson provides valued support and guidance to ensure their needs are met and help them achieve peace of mind. She enjoys building and maintaining long-term relationships with new and existing clients based on trust and personal service. 

Prior to joining Lowndes, Alyson worked at a law firm in Bethesda, Maryland, where she handled a variety of complex matters related to probate and trust administration, elder law and estate planning for high-net-worth individuals. She also has experience representing restaurants and alcohol distributors in administrative hearings, beverage licensing and lobbying for various wholesalers.

Alyson earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Florida – Hume Honors College and her law degree, with a Certificate in Intellectual Property, from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. While in law school, she was recognized with Book Awards in both Advanced Trial Practice and Agency & Partnership. Alyson is also a Level 2 Sommelier under the United States Sommelier Association.

A Melbourne native, Alyson will be participating in the Leadership Brevard Class of 2022. She is active within the local community as a volunteer with Brevard Family Partnership and Friends of Children of Brevard County and as a member of 321 Millennials, an organization that is focused on building the community and economy within Florida's Space Coast. In her free time, Alyson enjoys yoga, dancing, cooking, boating and taking advantage of all the outdoor activities that Florida has to offer.

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