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San Fran on banning binge! Lawmakers seek to nix free lunches provided by companies to employees

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In a city that has already banned plastic straws while commuters are warned about syringes on public transportation, San Francisco is going for the gold with even more overreaching legislation.

The city is now arguing that free lunches provided to employees by companies in the area are hurting local restaurants and introduced legislation to counter the problem, The Observer reported.

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Two San Francisco legislators are looking to ban new companies from opening in-house cafeterias, claiming a zoning amendment using certain planning and public health codes gives them the legal right to do so, CBS News reported.

San Francisco Supervisors Ahsha Safaí and Aaron Peskin introduced the legislation Tuesday which would not apply to the more than 50 existing employee cafeterias in San Francisco, like Google, Twitter and Uber, but only to new construction.

“This is the beginning of a conversation,” Safai said. “We think it’s an appropriate conversation to have now.”

“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, because they don’t have to,“ Ryan Corridor, owner of San Francisco restaurant, Corridor, told CBS.

“You can’t compete with free. Free food is a wonderful amenity but doesn’t do anything to extend the community around it,” Gwyneth Borden, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, wrote in an open letter.

“This is also about a cultural shift,” Safai told the San Francisco Chronicle. “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.”

Tech companies that provide the in-house cafeterias to attract workers and keep productive employees on site may have to start looking elsewhere to set up shop if San Francisco lawmakers have their way.

Outside of the Bay Area though, many found the idea more than questionable – if not laughable.

Frieda Powers

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