A new revitalization effort recently rolled out in the foodservice sector, an act the National Restaurant Association (NRA) has been requesting for some time. The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the release of $83 million dollars on November 23 in unobligated Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grants to 169 operators with pending applications.
“The SBA’s action represents the final chapter of our nearly three-year effort to secure dedicated federal pandemic relief dollars for local restaurants,” Executive Vice President of Public Affairs Sean Kennedy stated. “[This] announcement is great news for those 169 operators fortunate enough to receive an RRF grant, but hundreds of thousands more are struggling with uncertainty.”
According to the SBA, noted NRA’s release, the grants are being released to operators in the order their applications were received. Operators receiving funds should have received notification on November 23, and SBA has begun transmitting the grants. Operators have until March 2023 to spend the money.
“We must continue to look forward because the enormous challenges of the industry will continue beyond today,” continued Kennedy. “From the recruitment of employees to the constantly rising costs for food, running a restaurant right now is a daily struggle. There are steps the government can take to support restaurants in every community, and we will continue to press for solutions at the federal, state, and local levels.”
The restaurant industry was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. In the initial shutdowns, more than 8 million industry employees were laid off or furloughed. The industry still has not recreated the 565,000 jobs lost at that time, which is the largest current employment deficit caused by the pandemic among all United States industries. More than 90,000 restaurants closed permanently or long-term because of the pandemic.
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Deli Market News will keep an eye on the wire for the latest.