February 25, 2024
CEBA Repayment for Restaurants | Merchant Growth


While the pandemic brought about a great deal of uncertainty and stress, in particular for small business owners in Canada, the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program provided some relief to restaurants during those exceptionally challenging times. Through this program qualifying businesses could get up to $40,000 in funding, in addition to a $20,000 increase that was later made available, providing a total of up to $60,000 in relief funding to help businesses stay operational.

Now that the loan is coming due soon, businesses should strongly consider the incentive offered by the federal government, whereby paying $40,000 back by the January 18th 2024 deadline entitles them to a forgiveness incentive of up to 33% of the loan.

For businesses in the restaurant industry who are unable to pay the bulk back on their own or who are unable to secure the funds from their financial institution, there are still options available. If you’ve applied for refinancing with the institution that provided you your CEBA loan (such as a bank or credit union) by the January 18th deadline but are not approved, you then have until March 28th 2024 to get financing from another source, such as Merchant Growth and still qualify for the forgiveness incentive.

Merchant Growth is actively supporting establishments in securing refinancing through our CEBA Refinancing Program, a crucial step towards unlocking the $20,000 CEBA forgiveness.

CEBA and restaurant challenges

The Canadian restaurant industry, grappling with economic disruptions intensified by the global pandemic, finds itself at a critical juncture. Navigating supply chain fluctuations and unpredictable consumer demands, restaurants are recognizing the need for strategic financial measures.
Restaurants were especially affected by closures, given that many rely on the in-person experience that they usually offer to make a substantial portion of their revenue. While some were able to increase their takeout and delivery offerings to try to still have some incoming revenue, many were simply not able to generate the same volume of sales as previously.
Since then, restaurants have faced ongoing challenges amid economic uncertainty, in particular rising food costs, which have had a significant impact on all businesses in the food industry, as well as consumer’s ability to spend on eating out. While business may have picked up more recently, and patronage is increasing slowly but surely, the long-term effects of the past few years have not yet been erased.

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Because restaurants are not an essential service, there are inherent ebbs and flows based on consumer sentiment. While some feel as though restaurants are a luxury that they can still afford, there are those who have eliminated it from their lifestyle due to their own financial challenges.
The importance of the forgiveness incentive

$20,000 is a large sum of money in any context. But for business owners in the restaurant industry who already operate on razor-thin margins, the impact of that amount of money could even mean the difference between staying open or having to shut down the business altogether. The CEBA forgiveness of $20,000 is about more than financial relief, it’s about seeking stability for restaurant owners as well as their employees that all depend on the business remaining operational.

Whether or not a business gets financing or not, after the January 18th deadline, restaurant owners will have to start paying back the loan. The point of consideration then is the shift in the total value owed from $40,00 to the full value of $60,00 plus interest. This will in turn create a further financial burden on those restaurants which now need to come up with additional funds to meet the repayment terms.

Furthermore, in some instances, once the December 2026 full repayment value comes due, restaurant owners may then even face the reality of taking future financing on the $60,000 loan, resulting in an even higher total cost to those business owners.

Merchant Growth’s role

At Merchant Growth, we’re committed to fueling restaurant owners’ businesses and their continued success. Whether that’s opening another location, buying ingredients, hiring staff, building a new patio, or fundamental operational and business costs like repaying a CEBA loan.

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With our over 15-year history as a small business lender, not only have we become a top lender in our space, we’ve also become very familiar with both the challenges and opportunities for growth that restaurant owners face.

Our CEBA Refinancing program is about supporting restaurant owners and helping them take advantage of the forgiveness incentive in order to ensure that they do not miss out on the $20,000 incentive due to being able to pay back the loan on their own, or being unable to secure funding from a bank.

Eligibility and application process

At Merchant Growth, we believe that getting funding should not take away from actually running your business, and this is a principle that is also fundamental to our CEBA Refinancing program.

That’s why we offer a fully self-served, online application where you can fill out your personal and business information, confirm your identity, and be presented with the offers available to you all in a single process. However, should you have any questions, concerns, or issues come up as you are applying, our team is here to help you.

Before applying for CEBA Refinancing with Merchant Growth, restaurant owners should be aware of two basic eligibility requirements.

  • Be an eligible holder of a CEBA loan
  • Monthly revenue of $10K
    • Please note that this is monthly and not an average of monthly revenue.

If you’re ready to move ahead with applying, to have the process go as smoothly as possible you should have the following information on hand:

  • Personal information (name, address, etc.)
  • Business information (name, legal name, time in businesses, address, revenue)
  • Information about your CEBA loan (what institution it is held with, amount, amount paid back)
  • Digital copies of bank statements from the past 6 months
  • Piece of government-issued photo ID (besides a passport)

During the application process you’ll be presented with three different offers that you can choose from that best meet your needs.

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What happens after applying

Following your application, it will take approximately two (2) business days for the funds to be deposited into your account.

Please ensure that you successfully transfer the funds to your CEBA account in order to pay off that balance. If applicable, restaurant owners are also required to ensure they’ve secured any additional funding from other sources should they decide to only take a partial balance with Merchant Growth. Otherwise, in both of these cases, failure to properly complete the repayment of the CEBA loan will render a business ineligible for the forgiveness incentive.

Looking forward

While no one can predict the precise future of the Canadian restaurant industry, there is an inherent resilience and optimism among all small business owners, who are a fundamental part of the country’s economy. Ensuring that your restaurant takes advantage of the forgiveness incentive is about a strategic, long-term investment in your business.

Merchant Growth is more than a financial partner; it is a longstanding collaborator in the narrative of Canadian restaurants, having worked with restaurants of all types across the country.

By offering tailored refinancing solutions, Merchant Growth plays a pivotal role in helping restaurants not only unlock the full potential of CEBA forgiveness, but also their ongoing growth as the industry continues to regain its footing.

To date we’ve been able to help hundreds of restaurant owners pay off their CEBA loans and benefit from the forgiveness incentive, and we look forward to continuing to support many more ensure they are able to take advantage of the savings that the government is offering to those that pay off the loan.

Visit the Government of Canada’s official CEBA website for additional information about CEBA loans.

We invite you to take advantage of the forgiveness incentive and up to $20,000 in savings, as you look ahead to what’s next for your restaurant business.  Learn more about Merchant’s Growth CEBA refinancing program and get started today!