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April 30 – ICYMI: SBA Reports 41,000 People Registered for Restaurant Revitalization Fund in First Hour


April 30, 2021


Jeff Solnet 

ICYMI: SBA Reports 41,000 People Registered for Restaurant Revitalization Fund in First Hour

Independent Restaurant Coalition and Small Business Administration Participated in Webinars Attended By Over 80,000 People; Community Partners Include James Beard Foundation, U.S. Black Chambers, OpenTable, U.S. Bartenders Guild, and FoodLab Detroit

SBA Administrator: “We need to encourage everyone to apply and access this fund as much as possible and demonstrate what remaining need is out there.”

Restaurants and Bars Should Pre-Register for Grants Now at:

***Watch the Press Conference Here***

Washington, D.C. –  Today at an Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) press conference with the Small Business Administration (SBA), SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman and Associate SBA Administrator Patrick Kelley announced that 41,000 people registered for the $28.6 Billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) in the first hour of the RRF pre-registration period and called on restaurants and bars to pre-register for grants today. The $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund will begin accepting applications on Monday, May 3rd at noon ET. Applicants can pre-register for grants now at

In April, the Independent Restaurant Coalition has worked with the SBA to present on webinars on the Restaurant Revitalization Fund attended by over 80,000 people across the country including North Dakota, South Dakota, North Carolina, South Carolina, Milwaukee and Madison, Detroit, Oregon, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Idaho, Salt Lake, Denver and Chicago. Community partners include: OpenTable, Public Private Strategies Institute, FoodLab Detroit, United States Bartenders’ Guild, Independent Hospitality Coalition, Speed Rack, Massachusetts Restaurants United, the James Beard Foundation, U.S Black Chambers, Reimagine Main Street, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and FARE Idaho. 

The IRC continues to update resources to help the independent restaurant and bar community prepare to apply for RRF grants. Restaurants and bars can learn more about the RRF at -- the SBA’s official portal for the program, which includes information about the documentation operators will need to provide as well as a sample application.

Isabella Casillas Guzman, SBA Administrator

“I want to thank you all and all our partners who have really been critical to formulating and helping us design this program and think through how businesses have been adapting during this time. Just your leadership in making this Restaurant Revitalization Fund a reality. The Independent Restaurant Coalition, I just want to thank you.”

“We know that the smallest and most underserved businesses, especially owned by people of color, have been hurt the most by the pandemic, and yet many have been unable to access that relief. Congress understood this. It has a priority of the Biden-Harris Administration that the American Rescue Plan mandated that 21 day period for restaurants owned by women, Veterans, and socially or economically disadvantaged people. That means through Monday, May 24, the SBA will prioritize those applications.”

“We know that the $28.6 billion is not enough to meet the demand, however, we need to demonstrate that demand, and we need to encourage everyone to apply and access this fund as much as possible and demonstrate what remaining need is out there.”

Patrick Kelley, Associate Administrator, SBA

"Registration began today and we're at over 41,000 registrations already in the first hour. That's very encouraging. We want to make a strong statement that everyone should step forward and have a plan to execute on Monday 12 PM Eastern at hour one, day one, minute one to get this relief.”

“Thank you to IRC. It has been a great public-private partnership for the last few weeks as we have put forward the materials that govern this program and reached out as you suggest that so many corners in all communities across the country (can access this program).”

“Congress provided a tremendous framework for underserved communities who arguably have not had other programs to seek out over the last 12 months. For the first 21 days of this program, beginning Monday May 3rd, we will begin prioritizing applications from Veteran-owned, women-owned, and socially and economically disadvantaged businesses.” 

Nya Marshall, IRC Leadership Team, Owner of IVY Kitchen in Detroit 

“It is important that the Restaurant Revitalization Fund prioritize the many businesses that previous relief programs left behind, which is why we have been working hard alongside the SBA to ensure people who couldn’t access other federal relief programs have the best shot possible at using the RRF. We’ve been working seven days a week hosting roundtables and other advocacy discussions to spread the word about this program. This is personal for so many of us. Over 11 million Americans are directly employed by independent restaurants and bars and millions more have been at one point in their life– the RRF is an important next step to re-employing this vibrant industry. “

Caroline Styne, IRC Co-Founder, co-owner of Lucques Group in Los Angeles

“This week alone we've spoken with over 73,000 people on webinars across the country– demand for this program is immense. We've spent weeks organizing webinars with SBA officials and organizations like FoodLab Detroit, Black Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Bartenders Guild, and many others to educate local restaurants and bars prepare to apply for this program."  

“Neighborhood restaurants and bars shouldn't wait until Monday: they need to visit, register, and begin getting materials ready for the restaurant revitalization fund.  The $28.6 billion fund simply isn't enough for the hundreds of thousands of independent restaurants struggling to keep their doors open right now, and that's why the IRC is doing everything possible to make sure communities that need relief know how to apply.”

This first-of-its-kind grant program provides debt-free support in the amount of annual revenue lost from 2019 and 2020, with special provisions for businesses that opened in 2020 and 2019. They can only be used on eligible expenses (below) that incurred starting on February 15, 2020 and ending on March 11, 2023. Unused funds – or funds not used for these purposes – will be returned to the government. These expenses include:

  • Payroll (excluding employee compensation exceeding $100,000/year), employee benefits, and paid sick leave;

  • Mortgage, rent, and utilities;

  • Maintenance;

  • Outdoor seating construction;

  • Supplies, protective equipment, and cleaning materials;

  • Food and beverage;

  • Operational expenses; 

  • And principal business payments for business debt. 

This program caters to the most vulnerable businesses: grants cannot exceed $10,000,000 per restaurant group (which cannot have more than 20 entities), and $5,000,000 per business. The SBA will prioritize awarding grants to women or Veteran-owned businesses, and socially and economically disadvantaged groups, including Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans and Subcontinent Asian Americans. And for the first time the SBA will provide an application in Spanish.


The Independent Restaurant Coalition was formed by chefs and independent restaurant owners across the country who have built a grassroots movement to secure vital protections for the nation’s 500,000 independent restaurants and the more than 11 million restaurant and bar workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.