On April 13, the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) hosted a town hall with members of the Small Business Administration (SBA), which will be administering the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), the $28.6 billion grant program that was recently signed into law.
Now that you’ve waded through that alphabet soup, here’s what to know about the webinar, which you can watch here. Feel free to listen from the beginning if you love introductions, but skip to 11:25 for the real info. Spoiler alert: We found this pretty helpful, even if the biggest question on everyone’s mind wasn’t really answered.
- It was run two SBA officials: Patrick Kelley and Julie Verratti. Verratti moonlights as a Maryland brewery owner, so there was much talk about “meeting restaurants where they are.”
- The most pressing question was also the one with the vaguest answer: When can I apply? Kelley responded, “Soon, which is a dissatisfying bureaucratic answer everyone is puking over in the chat.” He’s not wrong, but he also laid out the SBA’s plans for additional trainings and a two week pilot period prior to the application going live. (We think that’s a wise plan, especially given the SBA’s disastrous launch of the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant—the application portal crashed the same day it was launched, and remains down indefinitely.)
- The grant application will be embedded into POS systems like Square, Toast, Clover, and Aloha, which will allow the POS system to painlessly calculate the gross revenue figures that you’ll need to apply.
- If you’re not applying via your POS system, you’ll be able to do it online or even by phone. Have these documents at your fingertips:
- Tax returns for 2019 (required) and 2020 (not required, but strongly recommended)
- Bank statements
- P&L statements
- Businesses can apply even if:
- They’re temporarily closed (meaning that they have made the business decision to pause operations due to restrictions, but are not permanently closed)
- If they have filed bankruptcy and are in reorganization (temporarily closed), but not liquidation (permanently closed)
- If they spent money in the order to open before March 11, 2021, but haven’t yet opened for business
- Everyone can apply on the first day applications open—and owners are strongly encouraged to do so in order to drive demand for a second round of grant funding—but priority will be given to women-, veteran-, Black-, Hispanic-, Native American-, and Asian-owned businesses for the first 21 days of the program.
- Yes, you can spend the grant on payroll, rent, loan payments, credit card payments, POS contracts, utilities, cost of goods sold, construction for outdoor seating—pretty much anything that’s a business operating expense.
There’s plenty more nitty-gritty, of course, including detailed grant calculations. Watch the webinar, then hit up the IRC’s resource page, where you can find FAQs and additional info in English, Spanish, Korean, Arabic, Vietnamese, and Chinese.
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