• Calla Norman

Best Restaurant Business Loans in 2021

Updated: Aug 25


a shrimp dish at Casa Brasil restaurant in Pittsburgh

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You might have heard about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund supplying restaurants that struggled through 2020 with much-needed funds. But, what if you weren’t eligible for these grants, but you still need a restaurant business loan?


Luckily, there are plenty of options out there for restaurant business loans that you can take advantage of for your restaurant. Each option has varying eligibility requirements and loan amounts, so check them out and see what is right for you!


Here's a quick look at the options:


Learn more about growing your restaurant concept with Honeycomb Credit's The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Restaurant in 2021!


SBA Loans


If you’re an already established restaurant and making plenty of revenue but are looking to take the next step, an SBA loan is a great opportunity. Restaurateurs often use SBA loans for renovations, moving into new locations, opening new locations, basically anything that requires a lot of capital and investment.


SBA loans are great because they’re a vetted, steady way to get capital for your restaurant, and a way of getting large amounts of capital - anywhere from $5,000 to $5 million. However, they only offer loans to restaurants that have been around for 2 or more years, so if you’re a startup you won’t find any luck with them.


Equipment Financing


There are also options for getting financing for restaurant equipment, so if a lack of a commercial stand mixer or range are the missing links for your restaurant, financing them is an option. By financing equipment, you can free up cash flow that you might spend on the equipment up-front. Equipment financing also improves your chances of building a relationship with a bank and is tax-deductible.


Some equipment distributors offer financing and leasing options for restaurant equipment, but often you need to qualify for it. Many lenders for restaurant equipment loans want you to have at least a year in business and bring in at least $50,000 of revenue. So, again if you’re just starting out, it might not be a viable option for you.


Bank Loans


A traditional bank loan is something that many established restaurants often look towards, often for some of the same reasons that they apply for SBA loans. That being said, applying for bank loans can be a lengthy and complicated process, and often require you to put up collateral. Bank loans also are typically only available for restaurants that have been in business for at least 2 years, so they’re not a good option for start-up restaurants.


Restaurant Lines of Credit


A business line of credit is working capital that’s available to restaurants from either a bank or an alternative lender. While there’s a spending limit, it gives a lot of flexibility for restaurateurs to access the capital they need, such as money to purchase ingredients or hire employees.


However, lines of credit often require you to put up personal guarantees in order to use, which could be a risk to your personal finances and assets.


Crowdfunding for Restaurants


Many restaurants have looked to crowdfunding as a means of getting the capital they need for all sorts of reasons - working capital, startup costs, marketing costs, purchasing food trucks, and more.


There are several kinds of crowdfunding; most people are familiar with reward or gift crowdfunding, popularized by platforms like Kickstarter or GoFundMe. In these, you raise capital from people who donate to your campaign, and in return, they get a thank-you or some kind of free gift.


While plenty of restaurants have seen success on these platforms, for many they find it difficult because there is no real incentive for people to contribute. That’s where the beauty of debt crowdfunding comes in. Debt crowdfunding, like Honeycomb, allows anyone to invest as little as $100 in a campaign in exchange for a return on their investment.


“I like the philosophy of getting your customers to support you and be engaged, and to feel a part of the community instead of just donating or buying something,” says Brad Bernstein, proprietor of Red Feather Kitchen in Cincinnati, who crowdfunded $56,655 to expand his restaurant group. “That really stuck with me, creating a lasting relationship where the customers look at it as being a part of us.”


Crowdfunding your restaurant loan has perks beyond just unlocking capital - it can also strengthen your relationship with your restaurant’s customers. Once they invest, your customers will feel more connected to your success, and will be more likely to not only dine at your restaurant but also spread the word to their friends about your restaurant and your campaign!


We’ve found that this snowball effect leads to on average 33% increase in revenue at small businesses that run Honeycomb campaigns.


Honeycomb crowdfunded loans are great for restaurants at all stages of their growth, as we have both our standard crowdfunding options, as well as Restaurant Comeback Loans geared toward star restaurateurs working on new projects.


Finance your restaurant and grow your customer base at the same time by crowdfunding!


It’s sort of like, putting on a pot of pasta to boiling and preparing the sauce at the same time, right? While there are many ways to put together financing for your restaurant and find restaurant business loans you need, crowdfunding is a way you can both turn the burners on at your restaurant and get a line of customers out the door.


Learn more at https://www.honeycombcredit.com/restaurant and sign up below to receive more information and find out if crowdfunding is right for you!