Jul 20, 2021 - Food and Drink

Women-owned restaurants land most revitalization grants

Source: Small Business Administration. Chart: Axios Visuals
Source: Small Business Administration. Chart: Axios Visuals

An Axios analysis of Small Business Administration data shows that nearly half of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants awarded in Arkansas went to women-owned restaurants or food businesses.

Context: The SBA initially gave priority access to small businesses that are majority-owned by women, veterans, or those who are socially and economically disadvantaged by giving them a 21-day head start on the application process.

Yes, but: Some business owners that don't fall into those categories felt they were being discriminated against and sued. Judges agreed the process was discriminatory.

  • As a result, nearly 3,000 restaurant owners who received award letters had grants rescinded in mid-June. It's unclear if any of them were Arkansas businesses.
  • Plus: We told you last week about how overwhelming demand for the program left most Arkansas grant applicants without funds.

Why it matters: Despite SBA's reversal mid-course, the majority of grants awarded in Arkansas (83%) will go to those who qualified for priority status.

By the numbers: The fund awarded 507 Arkansas businesses a total of $93.4 million.

  • 241 women-owned businesses will receive about 30% of the funds, or $28.4 million.
  • Two businesses qualified for all three priority statuses: the owner of a Pizza Hut in Little Rock and a caterer in Jacksonville.
  • 16 are both veteran- and woman-owned.
  • 21 are both socioeconomically disadvantaged and woman-owned.

Of note: 10 operators were awarded 21% of the money. Of those, only three qualified for SBA's priority access: Arthur's Prime Steakhouse of Little Rock; the Golden Corral in Jonesboro; and Ouachita Coffee Roasters in Mena.

  • All three are classified as socioeconomically disadvantaged.

The top 10 by money awarded are:

  1. Golden Corral, Jonesboro ($4.2 million)
  2. Jetty Entertainment, Fayetteville (parent company of JJ's Grill, $2.3 million)
  3. Ouachita Coffee Roasters, Mena ($2 million)
  4. Turf Catering, Hot Springs ($1.9 million)
  5. JRAN Inc., Fort Smith (Western Sizzlin Steakhouse, $1.7 million)
  6. JBGB, Fayetteville (sister company to Jetty Entertainment, $1.6 million)
  7. Cheers at OPO, Fayetteville ($1.6 million)
  8. Golden Corral, Fayetteville ($1.5 million)
  9. Arthur's Prime Steakhouse, Little Rock ($1.5 million)
  10. C&S Deli, Inc., Maumelle ($1.4 million)

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios NW Arkansas.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More NW Arkansas stories

No stories could be found

NW Arkansaspostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios NW Arkansas.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more