The SBA Just Opened Its $28.6 Billion Restaurant Fund. Here's What Small Businesses and Franchises Should Know Before Applying. The application opened at noon and is available until funding runs out.

By Chloe Arrojado

In an effort to buoy the restaurant industry amid the effects of the pandemic, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has created a $28.6 billion fund for restaurants under the American Rescue Plan.

Starting today, small businesses can sign up for the Restaurant Revitalization Award until funding runs out. However, restaurants may want to register sooner than later. Independent Restaurant Coalition, SBA Associate Administrator Patrick Kelley said that around 41,000 businesses have already pre-registered for the the application (pre-registrations opened last Friday).

The funds are available for food-related business, including food trucks, bakeries, bars and even certain inns. The fund is also prioritizing small business owners who are women, veterans or socioeconomically disadvantaged. However, restaurant operators cannot apply if they own or operate more than 20 locations of their business.

For franchises seeking funding, the operation must meet the Federal Trade Commission's definition of a franchise and be listed in the SBA's Franchise Directory. If a brand is not listed in the directory, the franchisor has to submit their Franchise Disclosure Document (or other agreement document) for review by the SBA.

Funding requests cannot total more than $10 million and can be used for expenses such as payroll costs, outdoor seating construction and mortgage obligations. Funds must be used by March of next year.

The National Restaurant Association posted a step-by-step guide for eligible businesses looking to apply. Applicants can also reference a sample application form or call (1-844-279-8898) for help with their application.

Related: 7 Things Restaurant Entrepreneurs Must Do to Survive and Thrive During the Great Pandemic Depression

Chloe Arrojado

Entrepreneur Staff

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