- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 26, 2018

Two San Francisco supervisors want to help the city’s failing restaurant industry by doing away with employee cafeterias in private businesses.

Supervisors Ahsha Safai and Aaron Peskin introduced new legislation Tuesday prohibiting employee cafeterias from being included in new office buildings.

“This is another way to help support small businesses,” Mr. Safai told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“This is also about a cultural shift,” he said. “We don’t want employees biking or driving into their office, staying there all day long and going home. This is about getting people out of their office, interacting with the community and adding to the vibrancy of the community.”

Mr. Peskin called it a “groundbreaking” proposal.

“The historic model is that people would go to work, and then flow outside during lunch. And in recent times it has been much more inward facing, where companies don’t want their workers to leave,” he said. “The idea here is to bolster, not only the restaurant business, but other ground-floor retail businesses that are suffering.”

Mr. Safai acknowledged that the proposal stands little chance of passing, but that it’s “the beginning of a conversation.”

Restaurant owners in the area have complained about their dwindling business due to the prevalence of tech companies providing lunch to their employees.

“I think it’s never been harder to run a restaurant in the city then right now,” Perennial owner Anthony Myint told a local CBS affiliate.

“We see it in our business,” added Corridor owner Ryan Corridor. “We see thousands of employees in a block radius that don’t go out to lunch and don’t go out in support of restaurants every day — it’s because they don’t have to.”

San Francisco has come under national scrutiny for its homelessness problem after a NBC News survey of downtown found 41 blocks littered with needles and 96 blocks sullied with piles of feces. 

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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