The public is well aware of the economic devastation of many businesses during the pandemic. The restaurant businesses led the statistics with the most unrecovered jobs lost than any other industry during this historic time.
Many restaurant owners quickly adapted by updating menus, hours of operation, their delivery of food, and creating a takeout model. Some kept their operations going through the tough time, but not without sacrifice.
In 2021, lawmakers created a $28.6 billion fund for restaurants. This fund was an attempt to cover losses of restaurants (not publicly traded) or franchisees of publicly traded restaurants. Still, the industry’s high demand for this fund quickly depleted the monies.
In 2022, the pandemic did not go away, but the Omicron variant added another increase in COVID-19 cases. Indoor dining in restaurants weakened even more, and the National Restaurant Association estimated the loss of 1.6 million jobs if the legislation did not fully replenish the restaurant fund.
On April 7, 2022, Congress passed a $55 billion COVID-19 aid bill to help restaurants still in need, but the Senate did not approve the bill. This news was devastating to the restaurant industry.
In August 2022, however, the Small Business Association did release $180 million in unspent funds that legislation had officially allocated to the 2021 Restaurant Revitalization Fund. It is uncertain how the SBA will disperse these funds.
The online information from the SBA indicates that it is no longer accepting applications; however, if the restaurant owner has not received any funds or has not yet applied, the SBA advises to hold on to any correspondence and to continue with the application process. The application process is essential to minority-owned restaurants.
How to Apply
Restaurant owners who wish to apply for grant monies must first register through the Small Business Administration. Once registered, all the up-to-date information will be made available to the applicant.
Many parts of Florida were devastated by Hurricane Ian’s recent category 4 storm. Residents and business owners alike have been deeply affected. If you were impacted, see the SBA website to apply for disaster loans—Business Physical Disaster Loans and Economic Injury Disaster loans are available.
Other Grant Money Resources for Restaurants
Restaurant owners should continue aggressively applying for grants at all sources to help get them back on track from the COVID-19 setback. Many cities, county, and state governments are offering grant monies for those restaurants that meet their individual criteria.
Large companies are contributing to organizations offering grant monies to restaurants. In 2022, companies like Uber Eats, GrubHub, and Visa accepted applications from restaurants in need and might continue their grant programs into 2023.
Since the pandemic, banks have offered small business loans to help many restaurants get back to full operation. The SBA does not make the loans but insures them with the banks. Wells Fargo, US Bank, and Key Bank are some popular banks that process SBA-insured loans.
Options for restaurant financial relief are continually becoming available. Our food industry employs the most people and can fulfill the needs of a free-flowing profitable economy for the country’s future.