Colorado businesses scramble to apply for $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund

Posted at 5:35 PM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-03 20:41:10-04

DENVER -- Anticipation was high on a rainy Monday morning as the team at Frasca Hospitality gathered around several computers waiting to apply for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The $28.6 billion relief package passed by Congress allows restaurants to apply for funding that's equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss.

"Very excited, very hopeful and kind of just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel," said Alicia York with Frasca Hospitality Group after their application was submitted.

The Independent Restaurant Coalition has been lobbying for industry-specific relief for more than a year in an effort to secure federal funding for hard hit bars and restaurants.

"One year ago, independent restaurants and bars didn’t have a seat at the table in Washington. Today we are more organized than ever, and delivered the first ever grant relief program for the industry," said Tom Colicchio, Owner of Crafted Hospitality in NY and Co-Founder of the Independent Restaurant Coalition.

York said Frasca Hospitality Group is hoping to receive more than $1 million in relief between their four restaurants. During the first 21 days of the application period, priority will be given to small businesses owned by women, veterans and economically disadvantaged applicants.

"Three payrolls are going to pass, three more weeks, three more weeks of bills and it could be too late unfortunately. We hope it gets into the hands of those that need it most," said York.

The owners of Denver-based Duo Restaurant applied for the funding too and said any kind of relief has been a lifeline.

“There’s no doubt without this help we would’ve lost our business and lost the property that we operate out of, and so these types of the CARES Act and these types of grants are critical, critical to the success and being able to operate and own your business," said Keith Arnold, who has owned Duo with his wife since 2005.

Although $28.6 billion sounds like a lot of money, Sonia Riggs with the Colorado Restaurant Association points out the total loss in Colorado is estimated to be $3 billion.

"We’re certainly hopeful any additional funding directly for this industry is something that’s helpful, but I think restaurants are going to need more. They suffered a great deal over this last year," said Sonia Riggs, President and CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association.