Eligibility & FAQs

In order to qualify for the Chicago Hospitality Grant Program, you must… 

  1. Own / operate a restaurant or bar, as defined by:

i. Has a retail food establishment and/or a tavern license; and

ii. The preparation and serving of food and/or drinks is the establishment's primary licensed business activity

2. That is located within Chicago;

3. With no more than $3 million in annual revenues;

4. That has experienced economic distress and loss due to COVID-19 on or after March 1, 2020 (i.e., at least 25% revenue loss); and

5. Has a current operational cost need greater than or equal to $10,000.

Questions can be submitted via these webforms:

English /Spanish

The following businesses are not eligible:

  • Arcades, grocery stores, movie theaters, performance venues and other establishments whose primary business is not the preparation and serving of food and/or drinks

  •  Chain businesses (regional or national chains)

  •  Franchises that operate more than 2 locations

  •  Night clubs

  •  Strip clubs or adult entertainment facilities

  •  Any uses similar to those listed above

Yes, provided the franchise operates no more than 2 locations.

Chicago-headquartered chains with less than $3 million in total annual revenue (across all locations) are eligible to apply.

Undocumented business owners are ineligible for operational cost support grants due to restrictions with the federal funding source.

Establishments that are in the process of dissolving with no intention to reopen in the future are ineligible to apply. However, establishments that are temporarily closed because of loss of revenue due to COVID-19 but continue to pay rent and plan to reopen in the future are eligible to apply.

The operational cost support grants are meant to provide restaurant and bars in Chicago with the resources they need to continue to operate within applicable City and State guidelines and cover ongoing operational expenses. 

The grant must be used for necessary operating cost needs (e.g., replenishment of inventory, utilities payments, rent/mortgage payments, the purchase of equipment to facilitate outdoor service (e.g., heat lamps, outdoor furniture) and/or payroll expenses) that arose as a result of economic losses experienced due to COVID-19 on or after March 1, 2020. 

Grants may not be used for severance pay, workforce bonuses other than hazard pay or overtime, property taxes, legal settlements, expenditures that will be reimbursed through another federal program, or reimbursement to other parties for goods or services previously donated. Each business owner is eligible to apply for up to one operational cost grant.

The application must be completed and submitted by the owner of the business. If two or more owners have equal ownership of the business, then one of the owners must complete the application.

Applications will be accepted online starting on November 10, 2020. The application deadline is November 23, 2020 at 11:59 pm CT.

  • A 2019 tax return or a 2020 monthly tax statement or bank statement for businesses that are too newly-created to have filed an end-of-year tax return (statement(s) should include the business’ name and address)
  • Valid Chicago business license or other proof of business operations within the City (Articles of Incorporation and/or Certificates of Good Standing from the State do not meet this requirement)
  • Valid identification card (e.g., driver’s license, State ID, or passport)
  • Completed Form W-9 (access a fillable form here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf)

The following partner organizations will assist in screening applicants and confirming eligibility:

  • Accion
  • World Business Chicago 

The partner organizations will select grant recipients through a lottery system and distribute funds via bank transfer within 3-4 weeks of the application deadline.

There is no “first-come first-serve” system in place. All submissions received at any point prior to the application deadline will be treated the same way. Grants will be distributed through a lottery system. Each recipient will be awarded a flat fee $10,000 grant, and grants will be distributed until the Hospitality Grant Program has been exhausted. The allocation of these funds will receive an equity lens that considers businesses applying from low- and moderate-income Community Areas. Grants will be distributed via lottery to recipients throughout the city.

Applicants will be notified of their status via email within 3-4 weeks after the application deadline.

Each business owner/ business group is eligible to apply for one grant to help recover from economic loss experienced due to COVID-19 on or after March 1, 2020.

Recipients of operational cost grants will receive $10,000 via bank transfer to help recover from economic loss experienced due to COVID-19 on or after March 1, 2020.

Submitting bank account information helps us process payments for grant recipients as quickly as possible. The online application process is fully secure, and you can be assured that none of your information will be sold or shared beyond the partner organizations.

Yes. The information you provide will not be sold or shared beyond the partner organizations.