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The Restaurant Revitalization Fund: A Much-Needed Boost for Restaurants and Related Businesses

The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill enacted on March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), established a $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), which will be administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Funding for the New Program

Of the $28.6 billion set aside for the RRF, $23.6 billion is available for the SBA to award in an equitable manner to restaurant businesses of different sizes based on annual gross receipts, with the remaining $5 billion being set aside for businesses that had 2019 gross receipts of not more than $500,000.

Eligible Businesses

Participation in the RRF is available to restaurants and a broad range of other food- and drink-related businesses, including bars, food stands, food trucks, food carts, caterers, saloons, inns, taverns, lounges, brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms, and any licensed facility or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products. It is also available to other similar places of business in which the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink. Finally, the above list extends to entities that are located in an airport terminal or that are Tribally owned concerns.

Businesses operated by state or local governments, publicly traded companies, or entities that are part of an affiliated group with more than 20 locations as of March 13, 2020, are not permitted to participate in the program. Additionally, businesses that are seeking or have received a grant under the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program (SVP) are not eligible to receive a grant under the RRF. More information about the SVP, including eligibility and grant amounts, is available here.

To receive a grant, eligible entities must certify as follows:

  • The uncertainty of current economic conditions makes necessary the grant request to support the ongoing operations of the eligible entity.

  • The eligible entity has not applied for or received a grant under Section 324 of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act.[1]

Grant Amounts

An eligible business may receive grants equal to the amount of its pandemic-related revenue loss. This amount can be calculated by subtracting the business’s 2020 gross receipts from its 2019 gross receipts. However, grants are capped at $10 million per entity or $5 million per physical location, and any grant that is awarded based on estimated receipts that turn out to exceed the grantee’s actual receipts in 2020 will be required to be returned. Similarly, if an eligible entity receives a grant under the RRF and fails to use all grant funds or permanently ceases operations, the entity must return any funds that were not used for the permissible expenses discussed below within the time permitted. Grants would also be reduced by any amounts a business received through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Eligible Expenses

The RRF specifies permissible expenses for which applicants may use the grants, a list that closely resembles, but is broader than, the eligible expenses under the PPP. Specifically, eligible expenses under the RRF include the following:

  • Payroll costs

  • Payments of principal or interest on any mortgage obligation (but not prepayments of principal on a mortgage obligation)

  • Rent payments, including rent under a lease agreement (but not prepayment of rent)

  • Utilities

  • Maintenance

  • Supplies, including protective equipment and cleaning materials

  • Food and beverage expenses that are within the scope of the normal business practice of the eligible entity before the covered period

  • Covered supplier costs (as defined pursuant to the PPP)

  • Operational expenses

  • Paid sick leave

  • Any other expenses that the SBA determines to be essential to maintaining the eligible entity

Application Process

The RRF will be administered by the SBA, and eligible businesses may apply for grants on the SBA’s website. The SBA has yet to announce when the SBA will open the RRF to grant applications, but the application process may commence within the next few weeks.

Priority of Grant Awards

During an initial 21-day period, the SBA will prioritize awarding grants to small business concerns that are owned and controlled by women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns. For the first 60 days following the RRF’s enactment, $5 billion would be set aside for eligible entities with gross revenue of $500,000 or less in 2019. Other grant funds will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Business may use grant funds through December 31, 2021, but no later than a date set by the SBA within two years of March 11, 2021.

© 2022 Jones Walker LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 77

About this Author

Curtis R. Hearn Securities Attorney Jones Walker Law Firm

Curt Hearn is the practice group leader of the Corporate & Securities Practice Group. He handles mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures, as well as capital raising transactions for a variety of publicly traded and privately held companies. Mr. Hearn represents private equity and venture capital firms, and focuses his practice on companies in the energy, energy service, healthcare, transportation, logistics, and manufacturing sectors. 

Mr. Hearn has more than twenty years of experience representing large bank holding companies in Louisiana....

Aimee Andrepont Decuir Corporate Attorney Jones Walker New Orleans, LA

Aimee Andrepont Decuir is an associate in the Corporate Practice Group. Aimee’s practice focuses on drafting and negotiating commercial contracts, commercial lending and finance, mergers and acquisitions, and other transactional matters.

Aimee’s experience includes assisting clients with commercial contract preparation and negotiation, business entity formation, joint ventures, and financial transactions. Aimee also assists a range of clients with drafting business documents, asset sales, and other corporate transactions.

Prior to joining Jones Walker,...

Emily Gauthier Corporate Attorney Jones Walker Baton Rouge, LA

Emily Gauthier is an associate in the Corporate Practice Group.

Emily represents public and private companies in a variety of corporate and commercial law matters. Her practice focuses on securities offerings and mergers and acquisitions. She advises on corporate governance matters and the disclosure and reporting requirements of securities laws and capital markets, including the review of proxy statements; annual, quarterly, and current reports; and other SEC filings.

While earning her law degree, Emily served as articles editor of the Louisiana Law Review and as a...

John W. Zimmer, III Corporate Attorney Jones Walker New Orleans, LA

John Zimmer is an associate in the Corporate Practice Group.

As a member of the Corporate Practice Group, John performs legal work in a variety of areas of law that include corporate, securities, finance, real estate, and mergers and acquisitions. He also has experience with projects in intellectual property, maritime, and other legal disciplines.

John graduated first in his class from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. While in law school, he was a member of the Law Review Editorial Board, served as the chief of staff of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Society...