San Diego County restaurants that need updated kitchen appliances or updated websites can apply for a $5,000 grant from the California Restaurant Foundation.
Applications for the Foundation Dining Room Nursing Resilience Fund open on Saturday, April 15th and are due on Sunday, May 7th.
For the third year in a row, California utilities — San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern Cal Gas and Pacific Gas & Electric — partnered with food industry trade groups to provide funding to help restaurants recover from the pandemic and strengthen their business infrastructure . Total funding for 2023 is $2.1 million, with SoCalGas contributing $1 million, PG&E Foundation contributing $0.9 million and SDG&E contributing $0.2 million.
This year, the fund will distribute additional grants to 366 brick-and-mortar restaurants across the state. Alycia Harshfield, executive director of the California Restaurant Foundation, said 35 awards were allocated to businesses in San Diego County.
California-based restaurateurs with five or fewer locations and annual revenue of less than $3 million (all locations combined) are eligible.
Since 2021, the foundation’s Resilience Fund has awarded 788 grants to independent restaurants. Last year, 50 restaurants in San Diego County received $3,000 in grants.
The grants help businesses buy new stoves and upgrade kitchen equipment they may have put off during the pandemic. It also helps businesses address staffing issues and spend that money on employee retention.
In addition to these uses, the foundation has added two new applications for the money, Harshfield said.
Restaurants can use grants for technology adoption, such as adding a digital point-of-sale system, creating a website, investing in social media or inventory control tools. The money can also be used for “unforeseen difficulties,” including the restaurant’s response to fire, flood, theft or vandalism.
“We’re really excited about this year’s grant cycle as we’re able to move from responding to the pandemic to really focus on building resiliency for small independent restaurants,” she said.
Eligible San Diego County restaurants must be SDG&E customers and must have been in business for at least one full year.
Restaurants that previously received awards from this grant fund may reapply.
Priority will be given to eligible businesses owned by women and people of color, Harshfield said. Of the nearly 800 businesses funded to date, 68.5 percent are owned by women and 83 percent by people of color.
“Tell local restaurants about this opportunity to be their hero and let them know they can get these grants,” Harshfield said. “When I go out to eat, I mention to the restaurant owner or manager that grant applications are available in real time, online and easy.”
To apply, visit the Restaurant Foundation of California website at restaurantscare.org/resilience.