The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “Act”), signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, includes within Section 5003 a $28.6 billion appropriation to establish a Restaurant Revitalization Fund (the “RRF”) to provide tax-free federal grants to food and beverage businesses hard hit by the pandemic. These grants may be applied to eligible expenses already incurred and for additional expenses over the remainder of the year (or longer if the covered period is extended by the Small Business Administration (the “SBA”)), and are available to entities ranging from food carts to full-service restaurants and tasting rooms. While RRF applications are not yet available and further guidance is likely forthcoming, we would encourage any entity that hopes to qualify for an RRF grant to take certain steps in preparation, as described further below.
Summary of the RRF and Eligibility
A total of $5 billion of the RRF is set aside for businesses with less than $500,000 in 2019 annual gross receipts, with the remainder to be available for grants in an “equitable manner to eligible entities of different sizes,” with authority granted to the Administrator of the SBA to make adjustments to the distribution of funds based on demand and local market conditions affecting eligible entities.
An eligible grant recipient may be a “restaurant, food stand, food truck, food cart, caterer, saloon, inn, tavern, bar, lounge, brewpub, tasting room, taproom, licensed facility or premise of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products, or other similar place of business in which the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink.” Entities that are not eligible for RRF grants include entities that (i) are operated by state or local government, (ii) as of March 13, 2020, owned or operated, together with any affiliated business, more than 20 locations (regardless of whether the entities share a common name), (iii) have a pending application for or have received a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, or (iv) are a “publicly-traded company” (here meaning any entity that is majority owned or controlled by an entity that is an issuer, the securities of which are listed on a national securities exchange under section 6 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. § 78f)).
The term “affiliated business” means a business in which an eligible entity has an equity or right to profit distributions of not less than 50 percent, or in which an eligible entity has the contractual authority to control the direction of the business, provided that such affiliation shall be determined as of any arrangements or agreements in existence as of March 13, 2020. Continue Reading