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US independents to benefit from $28.6bn Restaurant Revitalization Fund

Legislation to support small US hospitality businesses, including coffee shops, bakeries and food trucks, is approved by the House of Representatives

An independent coffee shop in Charlotte, USA | Photo credit: Eric Parks 

Small hospitality businesses in the US are to be offered additional government support to help steer them through the pandemic. The $28.6bn Restaurant Revitalization Fund means independent hospitality businesses not part of an affiliated restaurant group with more than 20 locations can apply for grants of up to $10m to cover lost revenues due to Covid-19.

Approved by The House of Representatives on Wednesday 10 March 2021, the fund is part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9tn bill aiming to boost the US economy during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A wide range of independent business, including coffee shops, bakeries, bars, restaurants and food trucks, will be eligible for support, which can be used to cover expenses such as payroll, mortgage or rent, utilities, maintenance and supplies.
“This relief fund gives hope to the entire independent restaurant and bar community – line cooks, managers, bartenders and operators from coffee shops, food trucks, bakeries and bistros can rest a bit more soundly tonight knowing help is on the way,” said Independent Restaurant Coalition Co-founder Tom Colicchio in a statement.
One fifth of the funding has been allocated for business with less than $500,000 turnover in 2019, with priority given to those owned by women, veterans and other “economically disadvantaged” individuals.
The new support will be a shot in the arm for smaller cafés and coffee shops, which are often less able ameliorate trading disruption with drive-thru, delivery and click & collect compared to larger competitors. 

Highlighting the huge cost of the pandemic for US coffee shops, operators interviewed by World Coffee Portal in 2020 reported average Covid-19 losses of approximately $32,500 per store, per month. Meanwhile, 57% of US consumers surveyed said they feared for the future of their favourite coffee shop.

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