By Kenny Choi

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Restaurants in need of help are asking Congress to step in again.

Loans and grants kept many establishments afloat this year but a coalition of restaurants is hoping for a lot more.

Pre-pandemic, Le Colonial, a chic French Vietnamese restaurant in the heart of San Francisco, was open seven nights a week.

“We can’t afford a night when we lose money or just break even,” said Le Colonial general manager Howard Cummins.

There’s been progress but even a restaurant like this can only open five nights a week, with back rent and other hurdles still on the horizon.

“Costs are rising and we’re trying not to put that into menu prices. Staffing is just really as hard as I’ve ever seen it,” Cummins said.

Le Colonial along with more than 3,000 restaurants across the country endorsed a letter Thursday asking Congress for more help.

“Restaurants are closing because they just can’t get through the gap,” Cummins said.

Le Colonial says it received both rounds of PPP loans but never received a Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant, which totaled $28.6 billion as part of the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress.

In its letter Thursday, the Independent Restaurant Coalition says more than 86 percent of restaurants and bars that didn’t receive grants are in risk of closing permanently.

“It’s certainly a challenge. I’ve been in this business a lot more years than I want to admit and this is the hardest period of time to navigate,” Cummins said.

Restaurant owners say the best thing to do to help them is to honor reservations or call as early in advance to cancel, since those empty tables end up costing them each night.