SAN FRANCISCO—A program initiated by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), headed by Mayor Edward Lee and Supervisor Katy Tang has been initiated. The Small Business Acceleration Program is in a “pilot phase” where food-based businesses can receive help with the permitting process at no cost.

The Program is in partnership with several other government offices including but not limited to, Treasurer and Tax Collector’s Office, Department of Public Works, and the Department of Public Health, Fire and Police Departments. The city of San Francisco and states that in order for restaurants and food businesses to establish themselves they should have up to 24 permits from 11 city departments and 3 state or federal departments.”

SF Business Portal emblem.
SF Business Portal emblem.

In 2014, the Board of Equalization reported that 4,748 food and drinking establishments contributed to $1.1 billion in sales during that quarter.

Small businesses contribute to San Francisco’s economy, employment and vibrancy. Food businesses in particular are at the core of San Francisco’s cultural identity, as well as the tourist and entertainment sectors.

The program will put food industry entrepreneurs in contact with a city official who will then assist in the permit process from start to finish—as well as helping business owners find locations and secure long-term leases. According to the Office of Economic and Workforce Development website, four ways an assigned case manager could help restaurant owners are:

  • Provide information about the process and requirements
  • Evaluate business owner needs
  • Engage and instruct throughout the process
  • Coordinate suite of City services

The program offers an online business portal for quick navigation through pertinent information. One of the options available is the Restaurant Starter Kit. The Starter Kit is equipped with resources, guides, and relevant permits. The SF Business Portal can be found here.

To learn more the Small Business Acceleration Program businesses owners can contact officials by emailing or calling (415) 554-6122.