April 24, 2020

Mark S. Allen, President & CEO of the International Foodservice Distributors Association, the industry that ensures a safe and efficient supply of food to more than one million restaurants and professional kitchens in the U.S., issued the following statement about the bi-partisan legislation passed today adding $351 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program.

“Today, Congress took another important step in easing some of the economic devastation caused by COVID-19 by providing additional cash flow and liquidity to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program. We thank the leadership of Congress and President Trump for coming together to act so quickly on this vital issue. 

While these funds are critical, we advocate for a change in forgiveness rules to assist the foodservice industry. Specifically, reduce required payroll spending to 50% of the loan amount and allow business owners to use those funds to pay vendors for inventory. The current mandate of 75% limits restaurants and distributors’ ability to recover, as they will need to pay for goods and products when our nation’s restaurants welcome back patrons to their dining rooms.  Congress should also provide full loan forgiveness when funds are used for any purpose allowed under traditional 7(a) loans including the purchase of inventory, supplies, and raw materials.  

In addition, Congress must do more to support a vibrant economic recovery by committing to additional economic relief in the next stimulus. Distributors, who are partners with their restaurant customers and extend them trade credit, will lose an estimated $24 billion in revenue by mid-June due to the closure of these eateries as well as K-12 cafeterias and college cafe’s nationwide.  Congressional leaders will need to consider the big picture impact of the pandemic as well as financial solutions for the recovery of the foodservice industry as a whole.
 
As a nation, we must support the businesses that make America great. The $303 billion foodservice distribution industry feeds America by distributing 8.7 billion cases of food and products annually and employs more than 350,000 people. We urge members of Congress and the Administration to act swiftly in a bipartisan manner on additional actions outlined in IFDA’s Plan for Recovery for the Foodservice Industry to keep our economy running towards recovery.”
 

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