PPP was meant to be a lifeline, but became a burden for many Valley restaurant owners

Posted at 9:25 AM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 11:25:57-05

Phoenix’s restaurant industry was the largest recipient of Paycheck Protection Program loans in the Valley, according to new federal data, but as the pandemic continues, the funding may not have been the lifeline it was thought to be.

In total, 1,718 full-service restaurants in the Phoenix-area received $281.2 million in PPP loans and 782 limited-service restaurants were given $123.1 million, according to data released Dec. 1 by U.S. Small Business Administration.

The information released Dec. 1includes the names, amounts, addresses, industry codes, and lender information for the Covid-19 relief program’s roughly 5.2 million approved loans. The SBA had previously only released detailed information for approved loans above $150,000 and with dollar ranges rather than specific loan amounts.

When including businesses described as cafeterias, grill buffets, and buffets, and drinking places, a total of 2,726 businesses in the Valley’s food and beverage industry received $423,781,845 in the PPP loans.

While restaurants and bars may have been the largest recipients of PPP loans, the money and the terms of the loans have proven not to be very favorable to restaurant owners, said Danielle Leoni, a chef and the owner of downtown Phoenix’s the Breadfruit & Rum Bar.

“They gave us the PPP months and months ago, that was OK for the time, but it wasn’t what we needed,” Leoni said. “It wasn’t built for restaurants.”

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