Restaurant servers can't afford San Francisco rents so restaurants are going self-serve

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This has been a long time coming, you can’t live in the City [SF] on $15 per hour, even if you worked 80 hours a week and never took a vacation. In 1976 I’d drive down from Sonoma County and pull up right next to a restaurant park, eat an excellent meal, then drive home for less than $10 bucks, and that’s including gas, plus the toll for the bridge. I was paid $3 per hour to make pizzas, my monthly rent was $25.00. Things din’t get better my friends, they got a lot worse…


The 99.7 percent of Americans who do not live in San Francisco find this of moderate interest.


Roger that!


It got .03 of your attention.


and worth every .01 of it!


I don’t see it being sustainable. How long before the big tech firms just leave and find a cheaper place to do business? The rents indirectly inflate the price of what they pay their talent.




That ship is already sailing. My Son’s job was moved to Phoenix, start up type thingy. They fill positions in 48 hours, mostly due to the cost of living difference from the Bay Area. Average 1 bed 1 bath apartment is $600 a month there, and you can cheap out and do a lot lower if you scrounge around Craig’s List for a few days. Bottom line is alternate models are in position ready to go.

PS. Yes they pay way less, but the trade off seems to appeal to some.


The same dynamic, to a lesser degree (so far) is happening in most larger US cities though. It should interest people outside the area.


No more than 98.6% (for the metro area), surely. The inequality and housing issues have knock-on affects which concern a much a larger region than the city proper, almost by definition. In fact, throwing in the entire Bay CSA seems colorable, which brings you down to only 97.3% moderately interested.

Which is almost 9 million people who ought to be more than moderately interested.

And that’s before we throw in all the other metros where we might not have it quite that bad as the Bay yet, but should take what’s happening there as something of a crystal ball look into our future: New York, Boston, Seattle, DC, and LA alone pushes that to something like 73 million, or over 22% of the country.

Which is still lowballing the number of people who should be interested. Even relatively moderately sized and/or out of the way cities are starting to feel the pinch, I think.


The long term answer is obvious of course. You put the Morlocks underground, where they won’t clutter up the Elois’ view.


Roger That!


restauranteurs – led by the Greek restaurant Souvla – are going self-serve, asking patrons to fill their own water glasses, bus their own dishes, and place their orders at a bar.

New slogan: have a “gig economy/service industry” amuse bouche along with your meal. Don’t forget to tip…yourself.



While Seattle is doing it’s best to become SF I haven’t seen any flight of the companies yet. At least the fight for more housing is winning Not so much for affordable housing sadly but it is being fought.


I say this with zero sarcasm: How long before Silicon Valley fixes the problem with robots with friendly AI personas? Servo-powered servers are not as far fetched as it would seem.

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They won’t in the near future. They’ve spent the last few years investing billions in new office space in the Bay Area and in other large desirable alpha cities, so we’re looking at another 10 years. The smaller firms and support firms (lawyers, accountants, finance) will also stick around as a result to be part of that business ecosystem.

What we might see are the tech firms in the Bay Area doing what the NYC financial services firms did in the 1990s: moving backoffice and employees who don’t do face-to-face with customers or partners to places that are relatively close to the executive offices but much cheaper (a challenge in the Bay Area).

None-the-less, greater urban areas will remain the places where the high-paying and high-status and glamourous jobs will concentrate. That’s why letting the labour and housing markets alone sort things out won’t work in tempering the unsustainable costs of living – regulatory action is needed on a municipal level.


How is Eatsa doing in San Fran? Looks like two are there.

Automat revival?