National Restaurant Association Issues Statement on the Unveiling of Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act of 2021; Sean Kennedy Comments
WASHINGTON, DC - As the industry as a whole works to recover from the effects of the pandemic, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) has been a crucial tool for the restaurant sector. However, the $28.6 billion in funding could leave many owners without any disaster relief. To aid companies in getting back on their feet, Congress has unveiled the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) Replenishment Act of 2021, which will provide $60 billion in additional funding.
“When the RRF portal closed in May, small business restaurant owners all wanted to know ‘what’s next’ for their pending applications,” said National Restaurant Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, Sean Kennedy, in a recent statement. “The introduction of this additional $60 billion in funding not only answers that question but proves once again that Congress understands and supports the foodservice industry. We appreciate the leadership of Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Roger Wicker, and Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Brian Fitzpatrick, who have championed the restaurant industry throughout the pandemic. Their bipartisan support continues to be critical for local restaurants needing access to relief for full recovery.”
Over 362,000 applications for a total of $75 billion in funding were received in the three weeks the RRF application portal was open, according to the Small Business Administration. The average grant application was just over $200,000, signifying that more than half of the restaurants open at the beginning of the year witnessed a severe revenue loss. The restaurant industry as a whole has lost $290 billion in sales since the beginning of pandemic-related shutdowns, and 90,000 restaurants have closed permanently or long-term.
“The success of the RRF so far is, in large part, because the SBA focused on making the program simple and accessible. We appreciate how swiftly they were able to establish a program unlike anything they had administered before and believe it has the structure to sustain additional funding,” Kennedy added. “For much of the country, life is starting to feel close to normal. While restaurants are optimistic about this trend, we’re still in the early days of rebuilding and are far from recovery. Industry revenue continues to be below expectations, and in many states we’re still operating under limitations. To make sure we don’t lose our rebuilding momentum, we will continue to focus on creating access to the tools the industry needs to address outstanding obligations and to manage the new challenges that could slow our recovery.”
As the economy continues to strengthen, the path to recovery remains uncertain, as outlined in the statement, as consumer spending in restaurants in April was still over $1 billion below pre-pandemic sales. In addition, many operators are still well below normal staffing as a result of the current labor shortage. To read more about the shortage of workers across the supply chain, click here.
As the industry pushes forward to overcome the challenges of last year, AndNowUKnow will continue to bring you the latest information.