May 3, 2021

Highly Anticipated Grant Fund for Restaurants Opens for Applications

Wisconsin restaurants should submit their applications as soon as possible

Starting today, Wisconsin restaurants that suffered losses during the pandemic can apply for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant from the US Small Business Administration (SBA). The $28.6 billion federal program provides restaurants, bars, caterers, inns, and other eligible establishments grants equal to their pandemic-related revenue losses. Every eligible business should plan to apply Monday at 12 p.m. ET. For the first 21 days, the fund prioritizes applications from women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and reserves $9.5 billion for smaller businesses.

“The Restaurant Revitalization Fund will have an immediate impact on Wisconsin’s hardest hit restaurants and bars and will help boost the recovery of our local economies,” said Kristine Hillmer, President & CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. “We’ve been working with the National Restaurant Association and SBA to educate local owners, and we expect application numbers on the first day will be through the roof. The need for these grants is still very high and it’s likely the $28.6 billion will be depleted quickly.”

Business owners qualified to apply for grants should plan to submit their application as soon as possible. Here’s what they need to know:

  • Owners should register and create their SBA portal login and download the application here.
  • If a restaurant is using a SBA-recognized Point of Sale (POS) system, they can apply directly through that company, rather than register directly on the SBA portal. Even if their POS system is not SBA-recognized, the POS provider may be able to assist in pulling the necessary data for the application.
  • Applications from women-, veteran- and socially and economically disadvantaged-owned businesses have priority for the first 21 days.
  • The National Restaurant Association has a Step-by-Step Guide for the application process. 

The online application will remain open to eligible establishments until all funds are exhausted. 

Restaurants have been the hardest hit industry during the on-going pandemic. According to the most recent data for Wisconsin based upon a National Restaurant Association survey of restaurant operators conducted April 1-14, 2021:

  • Business conditions remain far from normal for many Wisconsin restaurants. Overall, 71% of restaurant operators say their total sales volume in March 2021 was lower than it would normally be in the absence of COVID-19. Only 13% of operators reported higher-than-normal sales during the month, while 16% say their sales were close to normal in March. 
  • On average across all Wisconsin survey respondents, sales were 21% below normal levels in March 2021.
  • Wisconsin restaurant operators have a mixed outlook for sales growth during the next three months. 51% of operators expect their average sales during the next three months (April – June) will be higher than it was in March 2021. 19% think their average sales will be lower during the next 3 months, while 30% expect their sales will be about the same as it was in March.

Restaurant operators can go here to find more information about eligibility and to get answers to the most common questions about the grant fund.