The National Restaurant Association today sent a letter to Congressional leadership encouraging passage of Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) Replenishment if the program comes up for a vote this week.
According to the letter, while the rest of the economy continues to quickly add jobs, restaurant industry job growth in the first quarter of 2022 was the smallest since 2020. On the business side, real sales at restaurants in January were lower than volumes posted in each of the 10 months leading up to the pandemic.
“With the looming threat of another variant and growing challenges of inflation for both operators and consumers, the economic boost RRF could provide for those 177,000 restaurants would reach far into our communities,” said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “This should be the driving factor in bipartisan support for replenishing the RRF. These restaurants fighting for survival cannot go it alone any longer and should not be treated as a spot in the rear-view mirror of Congress.”
For the 177,000 restaurants that are still awaiting RRF support — which represents nearly 20% of the restaurant industry — these challenges are compounded by more than six months of competitive disadvantages these restaurants face compared with those that received an RRF grant. An Association survey of restaurant operators found that 96% of RRF recipients 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.
In addition, the survey found:
- 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 that applied for an RRF grant, but did not receive funding, said a future grant would enable them to retain or hire back employees.