American Rescue Plan a ‘Win’ for Restaurant Industry
This week, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act, which created the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). According to the National Restaurant Association, the $28.6 billion fund is “the most important recovery tool for the industry to date.”
The passage of the bill, the association noted, comes almost one year after the first restaurants were ordered to close and the association sent a plan to Congress asking for the creation of an industry-specific relief program.
“The creation of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will be a catalyst to reviving restaurants and saving jobs across the country,” association President and CEO Tom Bené said. “Our focus from the beginning of this crisis has been on ensuring that our favorite local restaurants could access the assistance they would need to survive. This fund is a win for the smallest and hardest-hit restaurants that have sacrificed and innovated to continue to serve their communities.”
According to the restaurant association, the RRF will create a federal program for restaurant owners who have 20 or fewer locations. Operators also have the ability to apply for tax-free grants of up to $5 million per location, or up to $10 million for multi-location operations. The funds from the grants can be spent on more expenses than previous relief programs, such as mortgages or rent, utilities, supplies, food and beverage inventory, payroll, and operational expenses.
In addition, $5 billion will be dedicated to restaurants with gross receipts less than $500,000. During the first three weeks of the application period, the Small Business Administration will place a priority on giving grants to women-, veteran-, or socially and economically disadvantaged-owned businesses. “These grants will inject a much-needed stimulus along the supply chain to balance the economic damage done while restaurants have been struggling,” Bené said. “We are still a long way from full recovery and it’s likely grant money will be needed to get us there, but today the industry has hope for the future.”
By working with Congress and the Trump and Biden administrations, the restaurant association said it ensured restaurants will have the tools and support needed to survive. These include special treatment in the creation of and improvements to the Payment Protection Program, the expansion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit, the extension of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, and inclusion in the Economic Injury Disaster Loans program.
“From the beginning, we knew that the pandemic would be the worst disaster to ever hit the restaurant industry,” Executive Vice President of Public Affairs Sean Kennedy said. “We created a roadmap for Congress and the Administration to tools that already existed but could work better for restaurants, and the plan for creating crucial new support programs like the RRF. These tools created a framework for restaurants of all types and sizes to survive, and now with the RRF in place, they will be the foundation on which we begin to rebuild.”
Click here to learn more about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.