19 April 2021

SBA Provides Key Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) Information, Guidance and Application Form

On Saturday, April 17, 2021, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced via press release that it had launched a new website with key information (including a sample application form and related program guide) for the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grant program authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

As part of our ongoing COVID-19 Response Team Monday Morning “Round-Up” webinar series, on April 19, Miller Johnson’s Erik Daly provided an overview of this newly-available RRF information.  To view the RRF presentation slides from this webinar, click here and advance to slide 26.  To watch and/or listen to the portion of the webinar dealing with the RRF, click here.

Subject to the ARPA’s and SBA’s exceptions for ineligible businesses (described in more detail in the webinar slides and SBA’s RRF program guide), the following businesses are generally eligible to apply for RRF grants (assuming they experienced a decline in gross receipts in 2020 compared to the prior year or, alternatively, they first began operations in 2019 or 2020):

  • Restaurants, food stands, food trucks, food carts
  • Caterers
  • Bars, saloons, lounges, taverns
  • Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars
  • Bakeries*
  • Brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms*
  • Breweries and/or microbreweries*
  • Wineries and distilleries*
  • Inns*
  • Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products

* Where indicated by asterisk above, onsite sales to the public must comprise at least 33% of gross receipts for these categories of businesses to be RRF-eligible

SBA has not yet set a definitive date for accepting RRF grant applications.  However, SBA confirmed that it would first trial the RRF application portal during an invitation-only, one-week “pilot period.”  This pilot period will be used to address technical issues ahead of the public launch. Participants in this pilot will be randomly selected from existing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers in priority groups for RRF and will not receive funds until the application portal is open to the public at large.

The pilot period will then be followed by a 21-day priority funding period for eligible businesses that are majority-owned and operated by women, veterans and/or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (as defined by SBA in its program guide).  Importantly, while only prioritized businesses will be funded during this initial 21-day period, all eligible businesses will be free to submit application materials during the 21-day priority funding period.  Time will be of the essence for RRF-eligible businesses, given the expectation that program demand is widely anticipated to exceed the available appropriations.

For additional information about program specifics (and to track them as they evolve in the coming weeks), we recommend clients sign-up for SBA’s RRF-specific email alerts and monitor communications from their point-of-sale (POS) system partners and trade associations.  In particular, SBA has emphasized that it is partnering with POS system partners to facilitate the collection and submission of financial information required by the RRF grant application.

In addition, as always, please know that we continue to track developments related to the RRF and other SBA programs. We will continue to provide alerts and webinars regarding key developments in these areas.  Please also feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions regarding these programs, including eligibility, ongoing compliance obligations and legal consequences of participation (including government audit prerogatives and Freedom of Information Act implications).