GREENSBORO, N.C. — A much-requested help has now become a reality for the food and beverage industry by way of federal grants. Small Business Administration grants are now available to Triad restaurants through the Federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
Restaurant owners as well as those who own and operate food trucks and catering businesses can now apply for a COVID relief grant. The application window for grants from the Small Business Administration opened Monday at noon.
Entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry can start their application process for grants at www.sba.gov.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund makes available $28 billion in grants to business owners who have struggled since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund for the restaurants is part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package by President Joe Biden's Administration.
"It's been rough so prayers and sacrifices from the employees to all come together to try to keep us afloat," said Travis Funderburk of Greensboro.
Funderburk owns Funderburk's Restaurant and Fine Dining which has a location on Americhase Driver and Church Street. For him, the American Rescue Plan answered prayers for his business, which he said was hanging by a thread.
"I was just waiting on this day to open up so that I could try to be a part of trying to get the grants," Funderburk said.
The federal government wants to make sure small businesses get access to the funds this time unlike its previous round of relief under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Many small business owners said they were unable to access grants.
"We've got caterers, bars, food trucks, food stands, distilleries, breweries, a number of businesses that operate in the food and beverage industry qualify for this grant program," said Algenon Cash of the Triad Food and Beverage Coalition.
Under the Restaurant Revitalization Fund program, restaurants can get as much as $10 million to use over the next two years depending on their scale of operation. Businesses that are small, owned by women, minorities, and veterans are the priority for processing and payouts for the first three weeks.
"After 21 days, the larger restaurant groups will be able to apply and I think that's going to exhaust the funds quite quickly, so if you're a small restaurant, now is the time to apply," Cash said.
"With this particular fund, you can hold it for a few years and, I think, long term that's going to help restaurants get back to a point of stabilization," he said.
Funderburk advised making sure that your business is legitimate and you have the correct paperwork and documents to submit in order to avoid any delays.
"You have to have your Ts crossed and your Is dotted to make sure you get the application done correctly. If you don't it will kick back," he said.
TFABC is assisting restaurants and small business owners with the application process so they don't miss out on the 21-day priority window.