Two-thirds of Tennessee restaurants that applied for SBA's relief fund didn't get it

Butcher & Bee
Posted at 4:30 PM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 19:40:19-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The majority of restaurants in Tennessee that applied for restaurant relief funding did not get it.

According to the Independent Restaurant Coalition, 2,622 Tennessee restaurants and bars are still waiting to receive pandemic help from the Small Business Association.

The $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund was dispersed so quickly, 177,000 business nationally did not get a grant.

The owner of Butcher and Bee in East Nashville, who is also on the restaurant coalition's board of directors, is advocating for the fund to be replenished.

"We are one of the lucky few that got aid and we're very thankful for it," said Michael Shemtov, the restaurant owner. "It's allowed us to provide continuity and staff, and pay more competitive wages and absorb some of the price increases without passing everything on to the guest, but we really feel for [and] don't want to see any of our colleagues get left behind."

The coalition would like Congress to add $60 billion additional dollars to the fund by the end of the year.

"I think there's a public perception that a lot of places are thriving, but behind the curtain there are still a lot of challenges. There's still a lot of places that aren't busy on Tuesday and Wednesday, that are not able to fully staff," said Shemtov.

Tennessee is home to roughly 11,700 restaurants. Only about a third applied during the original application window.