According to the ORA, among those the agency surveyed who did not receive an RRF grant, 78% of respondents said they would reapply if additional funding becomes available. In Ohio, loans were provided to 2,844 applicants totaling $586.8 million. The data show 32% of applicants received some money, and 37% of dollars requested were fulfilled in the Buckeye State. The proposed $60 billion for the RRF would be enough to process the existing applications in the SBA queue, according to the National Restaurant Association.
The RRF program originally was funded with $28.6 billion. The SBA doled out essentially all of that through more than 101,000 loans. According to the latest ORA surveys, more than 67% of respondents believe they will break even this year. This follows the national industry suffering an estimated $290 billion in losses since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. This also comes even as 90% of restaurants continue to grapple with staffing issues, according to the ORA. Many others cite ongoing challenges with food costs.
However, more than $72.2 billion in funds were requested across America through 278,304 applications. Therefore, the RRF fulfilled about 36% of loans and about 40% of dollars requested throughout the country. That’s why the trade group is continuing to push for congressional support to re-fund the program with at least an additional $60 billion, as has been proposed in the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act.
Follow me on Twitter for more takes on finance, law, booze, cannabis and whatever else I’m thinking about. The American Rescue Plan Act established the RRF to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. The program was designed to provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.
“From the outside looking in, the industry appears to be recovering, but looks are deceiving,” added Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs for the NRA, in a statement. “Restaurants that have been closed or operating under often severe capacity restrictions have months of debt that they are balancing with increased food and labor costs. Many are caught in a vicious cycle of wanting to fully open but lacking the resources they need to meet demand. For many of the operators stuck in limbo as they wait to hear about the RRF Replenishment Act, a grant could put them on solid ground.” “We’ve been conducting our News Impact polls since March 2020, and they’ve been crucial in understanding what our restaurateurs are facing as the industry continues to recover from the pandemic,” said ORA president and CEO John Barker in a statement. “The numbers show that our restaurants are still struggling to recover sales and staff their operations, and we know replenishing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will give our members the support they need to cover significant debt and losses from 2020.”
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- Only 32% of Ohio Restaurant Revitalization Fund applicants received money
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