Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Food Politics: San Francisco vs. Restaurants Edition

Is San Francisco killing restaurants? That's what Michael Bauer (SF Chronicle food critic) asks over at his blog, Between Meals. His evidence:

  • "Candle" tax: $200 a year
  • Propane tax: $146
  • Tent tax: $146
  • Restaurant license, S.F.: $951
  • Valet license: $244
  • Place of Entertainment tax: $352
  • San Francisco license renewal: $758 (an ongoing charge after a restaurant purchases the permit, which can range from $28,000 to $60,000 or more)
  • SF Minimum Wage Ordinance
  • In the latest election, a measure passed that requires restaurants and other small business to provide 8 to 9 days of sick leave a year
  • The Board of Supervisors is about to implement universal health care, which will cost around $120,000 to to cover 80 employees
Is a libertarian chef (or restaurateur) born with every new regulation? Let's just hope San Francisco dining doesn't follow France down the hole.

On a positive note, excessive regulation in SF likely means better food in the rest of the Bay Area. Although I would expect this effect to be most predominant in inexpensive restaurants, the most recent Michelin guide may hold some evidence.

Three Stars: French Laundry (Napa)
Two Stars: Aqua (SF), Cyrus (Russian River Valley), Manresa (South Bay), Michael Mina (SF)

So only two of the top five Michelin-rated restaurants are in San Francisco. Not definitive, but certainly interesting.

UPDATE: San Fran chef's are already raising their prices. More commentary at Chow.

1 comment:

BxCapricorn said...

Thanks for the behind-the-scenes on the SF restaurant scene. I often wondered why certain areas serve at one price while others serve at others. In Las Vegas, I live near an Italian Restaurant in Henderson, but the deal is in Las Vegas at Maggiano's. Why? I think I now know.