Updated May 27, 2020 - Economy & Business

D.C. chef: Restaurants need more time to spend PPP money

Chef Kwame Onwuachi

Photo: Axios screenshot

Restaurants need more time to spend money they've received from the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program to ensure that the loans are forgivable, Kwame Onwuachi, owner and head chef of Kith and Kin, a D.C.-based restaurant, said during an Axios digital event.

Why it matters: Onwuachi said small restaurants are reaching the end of the eight-week time limit to spend the money. If they do not spend the money, the loans may not be forgiven.

The big picture: D.C. is allowing restaurants to reopen as long as they maintain reduced capacity to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

  • "25% capacity doesn’t equate to profit," Onwuachi said. His restaurant can break even, he said, but they've had to change the menu and reduce the number of items they'll offer to do so.
  • He said his restaurant operates with 70 employees and won't be able to bring them all back until it can operate at full capacity again.

What they're saying: Margaret Anadu, head of Goldman Sachs' Urban Investment Group, said PPP was designed around an eight-week period.

  • "We're all sitting here 10, 11 weeks into being at home, and so already we know that a program that literally was designed in the last few months is not enough, Anadu said later in the Axios event, which Goldman Sachs sponsored.
  • She added that she hopes Congress extends the eight-week period to 16 or 24 weeks.
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