Good news for restaurants seeking Revitalization Fund grants

Restaurant owners seeking to get a grant from the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund that was included in the American Rescue Plan Act recently got some good news: They no longer will be required to register with the government on the System of Award Management.

Getting a so-called SAM account often was a cumbersome effort. The Small Business Administration, which is administering the fund, said it no longer is necessary.

The SBA said the application process for the program, which will be first-come, first-served, is expected to be available later this month.

The decision by the SBA to eliminate the SAM requirement appears to be another way the Restaurant Revitalization Fund appears favorable to restaurants and bars — certainly more favorable than the Paycheck Protection Program.

Get more information on all of the SBA COVID-19 programs here.

Here are some questions and answers about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund program:

  • What period does the program cover: The period covered runs from Feb. 15, 2020, through Dec. 31;
  • How much money is available: Grants will be equal to 2019 gross revenue minus 2020 gross revenue — with a maximum grant of $5 million ($10 million for restaurant groups).
  • Will it be taxed: Grant funds will not be taxed like income.
  • What can it be use for: A variety of uses, including:
    • Payroll costs;
    • Principal and interest payments on a mortgage;
    • Rent payments;
    • Utilities;
    • Maintenance expenses;
    • Supplies, including personal protective equipment and cleaning materials;
    • Covered supplier costs;
    • Operational expenses;
    • Paid sick leave.
  • Who is eligible: A wide variety of establishments, including:
    • Restaurants;
    • Food stands, food trucks and food carts;
    • Caterers;
    • Saloons, inns, taverns, bars, lounges, brewpubs;
    • Tasting rooms, taprooms (or any alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample or purchase products).
  • What about small establishments: The SBA has said $5 billion of that $218.6 billion total is specifically for establishments with 2019 gross receipts of less than $500,000.