Virginia restaurants hoping to bounce back from pandemic with $400K grant from DoorDash, VRLTA

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Posted at 5:02 PM, Feb 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-06 17:02:29-05

RICHMOND, Va. – It's no secret the restaurant industry has taken a hit due to COVID-19. Now, restaurants throughout the Commonwealth are getting some help.

DoorDash announced Thursday a new $450,000 grant program for Virginia restaurants in partnership with the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association (VRLTA).

The contribution is part of DoorDash’s $200 million, five-year Main Street Strong Pledge, which includes a $10 million effort to help restaurants in select cities across the United States and Canada.

The program will be administered by VRLTA, with assistance from local partners across the Commonwealth, including Open Norfolk. VRLTA will manage the application and selection processes as well as the distribution of funds.

Grants of $3,500 will be awarded, and judges will choose recipients from the restaurant and tourism industries. The judges will make sure grants are distributed across Virginia and prioritize businesses which have not benefited from other financial assistance.

Additionally, a minimum of 20% of the grants will be earmarked to minority-owned and/or women-owned businesses. Applications will be available on the VRLTA website from February 4 to March 1, and grants will be distributed to selected restaurants by the first week of April.

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Independently owned with no more than three locations
  • Currently has at least one location open and operating as a food service establishment in Virginia, with a brick-and-mortar location
  • Annual gross revenue of $3 million or less (for the single restaurant applying)
  • 50 or fewer employees (at the single restaurant applying)
  • Experienced a reduction in revenue, financial stress, or disrupted operations over the period of March 2020 through December 2020 when compared to the same period in 2019 as a result of COVID-19

“Virginia’s restaurants have faced unprecedented challenges the past year,” said Eric Terry, VRLTA President. “DoorDash’s donation to the state’s restaurant relief efforts will offer muchneeded help to small businesses. We are pleased to partner with them on this important work and hope that this ensures additional Virginia restaurants survive the remainder of this crisis.”

“Restaurants and hospitality businesses have made tremendous sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. “Many restaurants have pivoted to delivery and takeout to continue serving their communities while keeping Virginians safe. I applaud the efforts of DoorDash and VRLTA who are contributing to the ongoing federal, state, and local efforts to provide much-needed relief and help these important small businesses stay afloat.”

Related: Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association pens letter to Gov. Northam for COVID-19 support

“DoorDash’s mission is to empower local economies. The success of restaurants is central to that goal,” said David London, Director of U.S. Government Relations, East, DoorDash. “We’ve seen the immense challenges restaurants have faced over the past year as they’ve navigated serving communities throughout the COVID crisis and are proud to help support Virginia restaurants through the ongoing challenges.”

DoorDash and VRLTA are also partnering to offer VRLTA members savings on DoorDash’s Storefront, which allows restaurants to easily create a branded online store to enable pickup and delivery ordering directly from the restaurant website, commission-free.

For VRLTA members with five locations or fewer, software fees are waived through March 31. VRLTA members who become new DoorDash partners will also benefit from 0% commission for the first 30 days.

You can more about DoorDash’s efforts to help restaurants through the Main Street Strong Pledge, click here.