RRF Funds
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The National Restaurant Association (NRA), represented by top lobbyist Sean Kennedy, pleaded with Congress on Monday for another round of Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grants.

The RRF was part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) signed into law on March 11th, 2021. The ARP Act budgeted $1.9 trillion and was intended to build a bridge towards economic recovery.

New Data Reveals Industry Struggles

With the onset of the Omicron variant, the restaurant industry is once again facing economic turmoil that threatens the life of many of our nation’s foodservice establishments. The NRA and the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) recently released this harrowing data on the state of the industry:

  • In a recent NRA survey of 4,200 restaurant operators conducted between January 6-18, 2022, 88% of respondents saw a decrease in demand for indoor dining and a decrease in sales due to the Omicron variant.
  • 51% of respondents reduced hours in their operation as a result of the Omicron variant, while 34% had to close on days they would normally be open for business.
  • 50% of restaurants that did not receive an RRF grant reported it is unlikely they will outlast the pandemic.
  • For businesses that received grants, 96% of operators said it made staying in business more likely and 92% reported using the grant to cover Covid-related expenses.
  • In the same survey, more than three quarters of respondents said their restaurant’s fiscal health is worse now than it was three months ago.
  • According to data collected the IRC, many independent restaurants have taken on excessive debt and are faced with the possibility of eviction.
Restaurants are in desperate need for a replenishment of RRF grants.
The demand for indoor dining dropped considerably due to the emergence of the Omicron variant.

The National Restaurant Association’s Letter to Congress

The NRA estimates that the first round of RRF grants saved approximately 900,000 restaurant positions. If Congress passes another round of RRF grants, more than a million more jobs will be saved. Top lobbyist and Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, Sean Kennedy, had this to say about the state of the restaurant industry in his letter to Congress:

“Restaurant recovery is paralyzed and nowhere near complete. Congress must act now to replenish the RRF in the upcoming legislative package to fund the government … After two years of closures, COVID-19 variants, worker shortages, and inflationary pressure, a dangerous number of restaurants are at the end of the line. The RRF was a critical lifeline to many, but far more remain on the sidelines, desperately looking for support amid continued economic uncertainty.”

What’s Next in the Battle for RRF Grants?

The decision to replenish RRF grants should be made within the next few weeks. We are optimistic lawmakers will secure the support needed for a second round. Stay tuned.

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