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Supervisors move to ban workplace cafeterias

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San Francisco Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Ahsha Safai are proposing to prohibit companies from providing on-site cafeterias in an effort to encourage workers to buy their meals from local restaurants. The legislation, expected to be announced Tuesday, is inspired by the lavish on-site cafeterias provided by some tech companies in the Bay Area. (Evan Ducharme/S.F. Examiner file photo)

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New city tech workers dreaming of dining in workplace cafeterias may soon face a harsh reality — going outside.

Two city legislators on Tuesday are expected to announce legislation banning on-site workplace cafeterias in an effort to promote and support local restaurants.

The measure, proposed by Supervisor Ahsha Safai and co-sponsored by Supervisor Aaron Peskin, would adjust zoning laws to ban workplace cafeterias moving forward, but would not be retroactive.

Peskin said the measure, was inspired by tech companies like Twitter and Airbnb, which are widely known to have access to dining in their own buildings, depriving nearby restaurants of the dollars usually spent by nearby workers. The measure has the support of Gwyneth Borden, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and other local merchants.

Under the legislation which is expected to be introduced Tuesday, “you can’t have an industrial kitchen in your office building,” Peskin said.

Peskin said the legislation sought to avoid the “Amazon effect that impacts retail and restaurants across the county,” he said. “This is forward thinking legislation.”

San Francisco is not the first city to implement such a measure. Mountain View, home to Google’s headquarters, has prohibited the company from fully subsidizing employee meals at new office locations, in an effort to encourage employees to engage with the community and local businesses, the San Francisco Chronicle has reported.

Peskin said the measure was purposefully made not retroactive “so it’s not goring anybody’s ox.”

But, Peskin said, it’s a hope to mitigate the “app culture” of workers who are whisked away in private commuter shuttles to work, who dine in their places of employment, and see all their goods delivered to them by apps — depriving them the pleasure of mingling with the rest of The City.

“People will have to go out and eat lunch with the rest of us,” he said.

Supervisors Safai and Peskin and supporters will gather at The Perennial at 59 9th Street to discuss the legislation Tuesday at 12:45 p.m.

Supervisor Safai did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at joe@sfexaminer.com, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter, and Facebook at facebook.com/FitztheReporter.

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