Dina Samson is the owner and operator of fine-dining Italian restaurant Rossoblu and pizza window, Superfine pizza, in Los Angeles, along with her husband, Steve. Both concepts are part of San Julian Hospitality Group. Additionally, she is a cofounder of industry advocacy organizations, the Independent Hospitality Coalition (which focuses on helping restaurants in the Los Angeles area during the pandemic) and RE:Her (which uplifts female restaurant owners).
How did you prepare to apply for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund?
We [the Independent Hospitality Coalition] coordinated with the Independent Restaurant Coalition to do these webinars or town halls with the SBA to prepare business owners and answer their questions. The first town hall we did, about 200 members showed up and the second one, about 300 members did. […] so when I applied, I followed all the rules which was to basically demonstrate your sales and ownership and banking information. Honestly, it was fairly easy. I was shocked at how well it was run. […] My team from Re:Her and I were all applying at the same time and within about two hours, we were all done.
How would you compare it to your experience with applying for PPP?
It’s like night and day. I think they had a process that was more organized. This was easier than both the first and second-round PPP. […] They had trial and error before they actually opened it up to us. […] so that helped, I’m sure, with some of the volume. And then the portal was open during the weekend at certain times and if you caught it, you could actually get in early. One of the women on my board got in 20 minutes before it opened Monday.
What are your thoughts on the priority window for women and people of color?
I think it's super important. And I'm not saying that just because I'm a woman of color. I am part of the DoorDash accelerator program that they just launched where they are granting people $20,000 to take this accelerator class. And they told us the first time around, mostly white males applied. So, they made this new one for women and people of color. And they had told us that, for success accelerator program, that the majority of people that applied were basically white males, right. So, they specifically made this new one for women and people of color. They made it a priority.
Read the rest of the interview with Dina Sampson to see what it’s like to apply for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant in Restaurant Hospitality.
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