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San Francisco restaurants can’t afford waiters. So they’re putting diners to work.

June 26, 2018

By Emily Badger : sfgate – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO — Souvla, a Greek restaurant with a devoted following, serves spit-fired meat two ways: in a photogenic sandwich, or on a photogenic salad, either available with a glass of Greek wine. The garnishes are thoughtful: pea shoots, harissa-spiked yogurt, mizithra cheese.

The small menu is so appealing and the place itself so charming that you almost forget, as a diner, that you have to do much of the work of dining out yourself. You scout your own table. You fetch and fill your own water glass. And if you’d like another glass of wine, you go back to the counter…

Inside these restaurants, it’s evident that the forces making this one of the most expensive cities in America are subtly altering the economics of everything. Commercial rents have gone up. Labor costs have soared. And restaurant workers, many of them priced out by the expense of housing, have been moving away…(more)

“Call it fast-fine, they suggest, or fine-casual.” dining.

At this rate it is hard to imagine the economy will continue to churn at the high employment rate as more jobs are cut by the inflated cost of living. Where will these workers moving out of the city end up and how will they support themselves?

 

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