Data shows chain restaurant franchisees received more money than some small businesses

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DENVER – For the first time in over a year, Shannon Hardenbrook feels like she’s finally on more stable ground.

“I was able to bring employees back and start paying people again instead of asking my family to volunteer,” said Hardenbrook, owner of The Mac Shack, a gourmet macaroni and cheese food truck with a brick slot. and mortar.

She has been running the business for four years. During the pandemic, as truck sales declined, its physical location lost even more revenue.

“On the food truck, we fell about 70%. In the brick and mortar, 90%,” she said.

To avoid closing his stand-alone restaurant, Hardenbrook, like other small business owners, has applied for federal financial assistance.

“We were two months away, two months away from completely depleting our savings,” said Hardenbrook. “We got the two P3 loans, which certainly helped us, however, they were used to pay our employees, not our rent.”

She also requested money through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, offered by the Small Business Administration to help eligible businesses affected by COVID-19.

The SBA had said that belonging women, veterans, the socially and economically disadvantaged and those belonging to undeserved populations would be prioritized. In addition, the focus was on small mom-and-pop shops.

Across the country, more than 100,000 restaurants received $ 28.6 billion. The Hardenbrook company was not one of them, but about 17,000 others in Colorado received the money.

On Tuesday, the fund officially closed.

According to RRF award data in Colorado, three Golden Corral sites received a combined $ 6.5 million. Several small grants went to franchisees of large chains, such as Dunkin ‘Donuts, CiCi’s Pizza and Subway.

“I’m a little surprised that this is a small business grant program, and I wouldn’t really consider someone who has 20 locations, or five or seven locations, to be a very small business,” said Hardenbrook.

Denver7 contacted the Colorado office of the SBA for more details on how the awards were selected.

The Colorado Restaurant Association told Denver7 it is pushing Colorado lawmakers to approve the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act of 2021, so more restaurants can receive assistance.

“I hope they all vote to replenish the grants,” Hardenbrook said. “I mean, we were closed essentially through no fault of our own.”



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