Restaurant Revitalization Fund: New grant opportunity aimed at assisting restauranteurs impacted by COVID-19 pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- This week, the Small Business Administration launched the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, setting aside billions of dollars for food-related business impacted by the pandemic.

For the first three weeks, it will prioritize applications from businesses majority-owned by women, veterans or people socially or economically disadvantaged. Monday, Enith Briales submitted an application for her Raleigh restaurant, Alpha Dawgs.

"It will help prepare us for the future and for what we lost as well," said Briales.

Briales opened the restaurant in October 2019, saying business had been gradually increasing prior to the pandemic.

Briales explained her sales were 85 to 95% off her projections during the pandemic, a devastating blow to a new business.

"It was really hard. It was a lot of tears, prayers, just trying to get through it, and just trying to make sure that we stayed opened," said Briales.

Her status as a new business also made it difficult to access financial assistance.

"Just opening up, what business credit do you have? So we maxed out a lot of credit cards, stuff like that just to stay open," Briales said.

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She was able to get a PPP loan in August, and added that business has picked up in the past couple months as restrictions have been loosened and customers are more confident in returning to restaurants. Still, she is hopeful this grant can help provide assistance to businesses like hers.

"If you're (a small business owner) out there, keep the faith. Keep going. Don't quit. It's a process. We held on, and we're still open today, so just don't stop. Just keep applying and it will all pan out," Briales said.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund will provide up to $10 million to companies (up to $5 million per location), and a minimum amount of $1,000. Funds can be used for a variety of reasons, ranging from payroll costs, utility and maintenance expenses, rent, supplies and debt service.

If you're interested in applying, click here.

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