Restaurant Revitalization Fund
New life for RRF
April 6 – The House of Representatives approved a bill to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). All eyes now turn to the Senate. This week, Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the Small Business COVID Relief Act, a measure that includes a provision replenishing the RRF. We believe this bill could be considered on the Senate floor later this month or in early May.
“After nearly a year of advocating for RRF replenishment, the momentum of the last few days has been overwhelming for the restaurant industry. Today’s vote shows that the House recognizes that restaurants are still in crisis and that their need for emergency funding still exists. We appreciate the leadership of Rep. Dean Philips (D-MN) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) to provide relief for the 177,000 restaurants who so desperately need and deserve it. We’ll continue our efforts in the Senate for Congress complete the mission of the RRF.”
— Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President for Public Affairs, National Restaurant Association
Many thanks to Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland and the other members of the Washington delegation who voted for this bill for their continued support of restaurants.
March 30, 2022 – Thank you, Sen. Murray, for your continued advocacy for more restaurant relief. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) was a critical lifeline for restaurant operators struggling to keep their doors open during the pandemic. Unfortunately, nearly 4,000 Washington restaurants that qualified for RRF are still waiting for relief. The National Restaurant Association estimates that future grants awarded after a full replenishment of the RRF would potentially save more than 35,000 restaurant jobs in Washington that are currently at risk. We renew our calls on Congress to approve additional RRF appropriations as soon as possible.
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee took to the Senate floor, calling on her colleagues to pass additional federal relief for restaurants and small businesses along with the COVID-19 supplemental requested by the White House—making the case that both legislative items are critical to Washington state communities.
Senator Murray is currently fighting to pass the Continuing Emergency Support for Restaurants Act, which would secure an additional $48 billion in funding for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund which would cover all existing applications to the program that could not be met before funds were fully spent. This legislation is currently being negotiated as a part of a broader bipartisan legislative package to support small businesses—Senator Murray today called for this bipartisan package to be passed along with the COVID-19 supplemental.
Click here to read the full press release.
Congress says ‘no’ to more RRF
3/10/22 – Our Government Affairs team has been working with our federal partners on securing additional funding for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF).
Congressional leadership announced a bipartisan agreement on their annual spending bill this week. Much to our disappointment, the agreement did not include a replenishment of the RRF. This means no new federal relief funds will be allocated in this latest spending bill.
Our federal Government Affairs team has been working with Sen. Patty Murray’s office and Sen. Maria Cantwell’s office and other members of our congressional delegation on this issue for several months. Even with this latest news, our congressional delegation is continuing pursue RRF replenishment. Our team will continue to engage on this issue and keep you informed of their progress.
The case for more RRF:
- 88% of restaurants experienced a decline in customer demand for indoor on-premises dining because of the omicron variant.
- 76% of operators report that business conditions are worse now than three months ago.
- 74% say their restaurant is less profitable now than it was before the pandemic.
And we know that the Restaurant Revitalization Fund works. For operators that received an RRF grant:
- 96% said the grant made it more likely that they would be able to stay in business.
- 92% said the grant helped them pay expenses or debt that had accumulated since the beginning of the pandemic.
The National Restaurant Association estimates that over 900,000 restaurant jobs have been saved by the initial round of RRF grants. But for those 2/3 of applicants still on the sidelines waiting for action from Congress, the need to replenish the RRF is clear:
- Nearly 50% of restaurant operators that did not receive RRF grants feel it’s unlikely that they will stay in business beyond the pandemic without a grant.
- 94% of restaurant operators waiting for an RRF grant say the program would enable them to retain or hire back employees.
RRF roundtable with Senator Maria Cantwell and Anthony Anton
Jan. 26, 2022: Senator Maria Cantwell held a roundtable with restaurant owners from across the state advocating for additional funding for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). Washington Hospitality Association President & CEO Anthony Anton moderated the discussion.
This event provided an opportunity for restaurant owners to share their stories with Senator Cantwell and to call on Congress to provide additional relief when it returns in February.