SBA releases last of RRF grant amounts to next-in-line applicants

Restaurant operators pending in queue to receive $83M in funds week of November 27

The Small Business Administration (SBA) released $83M in pending unobligated Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grant amounts today, according to the National Restaurant Association. The released funds went to 169 restaurant operators that had submitted applications that were pending.

The amount is less than the previous estimate of $180M, which had been widely-circulated. Despite that, this last processing is the culmination of the Association’s work in getting unused funds awarded to eligible restaurant operators during an unprecedented, economically-challenging time.

Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of Public Affairs had been a leading advocate for the release of unawarded RRF grant funds.

“The SBA’s action represents the final chapter of our nearly three-year effort to secure dedicated federal pandemic relief dollars for local restaurants,” said Kennedy. “Today’s 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, the grants are on their way to operators on a first-applied, first-served basis. First, operators receiving funds should have been sent a notification on November 23. Next, SBA will begin transmitting the grants next week. Last, they should take note that they have until March 2023 to spend the money.

Kennedy added, “We must continue to look forward because the enormous challenges of the industry will continue beyond today. 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 level.”

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The Association first mapped out a plan for what would eventually lead to the RRF to Congress in April 2020. Eventually, Congress set aside $28.6B dollars for the RRF in the American Rescue Plan Act. After this money was distributed, more than 177,000 applications were left pending.

Following a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in July that indicated the SBA was holding unobligated RRF funds, the Association took action. It was the first to send a letter to SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. The letter requested that the unobligated money be released to unfunded applicants.

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