San Francisco

San Francisco Supervisors Propose Tech Cafeteria Ban

One of the many perks of working for most tech firms is the free food for employees. Now, San Francisco is considering banning the so-called corporate cafeterias, arguing they are hurting smaller, local shops and restaurants.

Two members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors introduced a ban Tuesday for any new business coming to the city. An ordinance that puts the city at odds with an industry its worked hard to attract, high tech companies.

"A lot of people who rely on the benefit aren't necessarily highly compensated engineers and it's something that a lot of tech workers depend on," said Sam Schneidman who works in San Francisco.

Supervisor Ahsha Safia says that within the past six years, 51 corporate cafes have opened in the city, offering many high tech workers breakfast, lunch and even dinner on the company dime, inside the company office.

Something that’s hit smaller, local business and restaurants.

"The backbone of any vibrant strong city is our small business, our restaurants, our cafes, our locally owned businesses," Safia said.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin along with Safia are cosponsoring a ban on corporate cafes for new businesses coming into the city, encouraging workers to go outside and frequent local businesses.

"This legislation is about a reset," said Gwyneth Borden from the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. "We're asking companies that have internal cafeterias to say ‘we want your employees to get out of the office, we want you to support our local businesses, we want you to interact and add to the cultural vibrancy of our city.'"

However, many high tech employees disagree.

"I think it's probably got its heart in the right place but I don't think it is going to achieve the desired result," said Schneidman.

The ordinance now heads to a committee for discussion.

The proposal would apply only to new companies, established corporate cafes will be grandfathered in.

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