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San Francisco may ban free lunches in Silicon Valley companies

Staff Writer |
Many Silicon Valley firms are famous for offering delicious free lunches to employees. However, San Francisco might ban these free lunches in order to protect the local food industry, media reported.

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Two local legislators, Aaron Peskin and Ahsha Safai, introduced the legislation which prohibits cafeterias in new office buildings and tech campuses, but not retroactively.

The legislation will be heard in Committee at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in September.

There are currently 51 companies that offer free lunch to employees in San Francisco, but new companies might not offer the same perk to their employees.

"It's great we've had an amazing economic boom where jobs have located into San Francisco over the last several years, but many of these new jobs come with full-scale kitchen operations that make it difficult for restaurants to have a good lunch business and find workers," Gwyneth Borden, the director of a local restaurant trade group who firmly supports the proposal, told the Guardian.

"This is also about a cultural shift," Safai told local media 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."

San Francisco is not the first city to limit free lunches offered by tech companies. Mountain View, where Google's headquarters lie, prohibits companies from fully subsidizing meals inside offices, encouraging employees to engage with the local community and businesses.

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