Posts Tagged ‘ggra’

And The Award For San Francisco’s #1 Tourist Trap Restaurant Goes To … Castagnola’s Seafood and Chophouse

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Here we go, start reading - this place is horrible.

IMO, San Francisco would be better off without this particular place up in Fisherman’s Wharf, but the Golden Gate Restaurant Association disagrees, oh well.

Of course nobody cares what I think so head on up there and check it out, if you want.

And be sure to try the “unnecessarily complicated Shrimp Louie

If you want…

Assignment Desk: What If SFGov Held a “Free 3-Month Culinary Job Training Program” and Nobody Showed Up?

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

You tell me, babe, is this official?

Sure looks official

How’s the attendance these days? I don’t know, actually.

What’s that, they’re promoting it through new channels, they’re still doing outreach for it even after it’s begun?

OK fine.

So, Mayor Ed Lee Wants Restaurant Health Scores on Yelp But Not Posted On-Site the Way LA and NYC Do It?

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Does area Republican and Mayor Ed Lee backer Ron Conway own a piece of Yelp? ‘Cause that’s all that I can think of after seeing this doozie of a press release, below.

So let’s stop the party for a second here, Yelpers:

First, tell me this, tell me why San Francisco doesn’t require restaurants to post their latest Health Department scores “prominently” for tout le monde to see.  You know, the way the do it in New York City and Los Angeles:

Instead, you want people to log on to Yelp and read the Yelp ads?

Is that “leadership?”

No it’s not, Interim Mayor Ed Lee.

Hey, wasn’t it your political faction what put the kibosh on the effort to require the posting of grades where they belong?

Yes it was.

Wasn’t that kind of an “Open Data movement” kind of a thing back then?

Yes it was.

Hey, Ed Lee! Why not require San Francisco restaurants to post their scores where people can see them?

That’s what most diners want, right?

Check it, right from the Frisco Zagat:

“An overwhelming 83% of San Francisco surveyors say they agree that restaurants should be required to conspicuously post a letter grade reflecting the results of their health department inspection (as recently passed in NYC, taking a cue from LA).”

All right, here it is, the press release from Fantasyland.

(NB: “Haters” aren’t born, they’re made.)

“WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2013 — Today Mayor Edwin M. Lee, Chairman of the US Conference of Mayors Technology and Innovation Task Force, and Yelp CEO and Co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman announced the initial integration of city-provided restaurant health score information on the site that connects people with great local businesses. San Francisco will lead the charge on this innovative effort to make valuable government data more easily accessible to the public; New York City restaurant grades will also be added as business attributes in the weeks ahead.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20050511/SFW134LOGO)

Working with the technology departments of San Francisco and New York, Yelp’s engineering team designed the Local Inspector Value-entry Specification (LIVES) which enables local municipalities to accurately upload restaurant health inspection scores to Yelp’s database. Consumers in SF and NYC will be the first to benefit from this partnership upon the full rollout in the weeks ahead. Philadelphia is also expected to participate along with other municipalities that adopt the new specification.

“This new partnership with Yelp to offer restaurant health inspection scores on its site is another significant step in the Open Data movement,” said Mayor Lee. “By making often hard-to-find government information more widely available to innovative companies like Yelp, we can make government more transparent and improve public health outcomes for our residents through the power of technology.”

“Increasing the transparency and accessibility of important public information is another example of how San Francisco, New York and other municipalities are leading the charge in bettering citizens lives by fostering innovation,” said Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO and Co-founder of Yelp. “It’s exciting to be a part of an important initiative to disseminate valuable health department information to the 84 million unique visitors that turn to Yelp each month on average.”

According to a study in the Journal of Environmental Health(1) (March 2005), Los Angeles County’s decision to require restaurants to display hygiene grade cards on their entrances led to a 13 percent decrease in hospitalizations due to food borne illness. The study also demonstrated that the mandatory public display of these health grades improved the overall average score of restaurants in Los Angeles by incentivizing improved best practices across the local industry. As a leading website and app for dining decisions, Yelp’s open data initiative LIVES stands to empower consumers and improve the quality of life within the cities that participate in the program.

Details about and screenshots of the LIVES implementation can be found at yelp.com/healthscores.

About Yelp

Yelp (NYSE: YELP) connects people with great local businesses. Yelp was founded in San Francisco in July 2004. Since then, Yelp communities have taken root in major metros across the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Singapore and Poland. Yelp had a monthly average of 84 million unique visitors in Q3 2012(2). By the end of Q3 2012, Yelpers had written more than 33 million rich, local reviews, making Yelp the leading local guide for real word-of-mouth on everything from boutiques and mechanics to restaurants and dentists. Yelp’s mobile application was used on 8.2 million unique mobile devices on a monthly average basis during Q3 2012.

(1) Source: Journal of Environmental Health,http://kuafu.umd.edu/~ginger/research/JEH-final.pdf

(2) Source: Google Analytics

Examples of LIVES implementation:
http://www.yelp.com/biz/cocobang-san-francisco
http://www.yelp.com/biz/delessio-market-and-bakery-san-francisco-2
http://www.yelp.com/biz/eats-san-francisco

Media contacts:

Christine Falvey
Mayor’s Office of Communications
christine.falvey@sfgov.org
415-554-6131

Stephanie Ichinose
Yelp, Inc
stephanie@yelp.com
415-908-3679

SOURCE  Yelp

Photo:http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20050511/SFW134LOGO
http://photoarchive.ap.org/
Yelp

Here’s the Way Tax Authorities Discover that You’re Undereporting Cash Income at Your Restaurant or Bar – It’s Easy!

Friday, March 30th, 2012

I suppose that somewhere in the universe there are Japanese and Japanese-American restaurant owners operating Chinese food places, but that’s certainly not the case in San Francisco’s Richmond District, which has a mess of Chinese  and Chinese American operators of Japanese restaurants.

As here, at Fune Ya, which used to operate on Clement Street. Read about its tax problems via Will “Big Daddy” Kane right here.

Photo via the Richmond District Blog

How do the state and federal authorities know that you taking the cash that customers give you and simply putting it your pocket? They don’t need to visit your place, they just look at monthly reports and compare them with neighboring businesses. So if you pocket half the cash customers give you that means that your “credit card percentage,” the percentage of sales you make from credit cards, goes up, a lot. And I guarantee you that your CCP will be higher than similar businesses in your area. That’ll make you stand out.

Like these people from this other place down in San Mateo County:

“Taxpayer operates a restaurant. For audit, taxpayer provided bank statements and credit card  merchant statements for the audit period, and guest checks and cash register tapes for December 2007. The Sales and Use Tax Department (Department) found that bank deposits exceeded reported total sales, and, for several months, there were no deposits of cash, which were indications that reported taxable sales were understated.”

In that case, the CCP was an impossible 100%. And also, the owners apparently deposited their cash anyway, which also looks funny.

Anyway, if you skim a little bit occasionally, you’ll get away with it. But you won’t save all that much money and you’ll have to keep up with it on a daily basis. And you’ll have to prevent your lousy employees from finding out and reporting you or finding out and skimming from you yourself. It gets complicated.

Now, if you’re used to flagrantly violating any laws you please, then you’re not going to like dealing with one  THOMAS E. FRANKOVICH (State Bar No. 074414). Why? Because he’ll send somebody in a wheelchair into your restaurant and then it’s game over, man. Game over:

“Plaintiff CRAIG YATES is a person with physical disabilities who, on or about March 10, 2008, March 14, 2008, March 16, 2008, August 15, 2008, August 23, 2008, December 20, 2008, March 7, 2009 and March 26, 2009, was an invitee, guest, patron, customer at defendants’ FUNE YA JAPANESE RESTAURANT, in the City of San Francisco, California. At said time and place, defendants failed to provide proper legal access to the sushi bar, which is a “public accommodation” and/or a “public facility” including, but not limited to entrance, dining area, men’s restroom and women’s restroom.”

So, all the money you “saved” through skimming gets paid out to lawyer Tom Frankovich.

And then you shut the place down.

Oh well.

Why is McDonalds Charging Sales Tax on Donations? Anyway, the New San Francisco Happy Meal is Exactly the Same as the Old

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Well here it is, the before and after of the San Francisco Happy Meal from McDonalds.

Today’s the day that the San Francisco’s Healthy Meal Incentives Ordinance kicks in. The upshot is that now you have to donate 10 cents to Ronald McDonald House in order to get the toy.

See?

Click to expand

(Note the apple slices in the upper right. They’ve been around for a while.)

But uh oh, is Micky Dee’s charging sales tax on the donation? Yes it is. I cry foul.* (Uh, San Francisco McDonaldses, can you do that? Do you need to rejigger your registers?)

This sign was just put up. It’s all “10 cents adds a toy.”

Now I’ll tell you, I can recall buying a Hamburger Happy Meal in Palo Alto last year for exactly two-fitty ($2.50). It had more fries plus the free toy (but it didn’t have apple slices or a slice of cheese for the burger.) Anyway, prices be going up, it seems.

Oh well.

*So, the only reason to charge sales tax is if the 10-cent purported “donation” is actually for the “retail sale of tangible personal property,” right? So which is it, a donation or a sale? I mean if I donated money to Ronald McDonald House on Scott Street, they sure as Hell wouldn’t tack on sales tax, would they? Mmmm… I paid ten cents extra to get a toy, right? Thinking out loud here, could it be that, as far as San Francisco is concerned, the 10 cents shows that the toy isn’t included “for free” and therefore the sale need not comply with the HMIO, but as far as the state of California is concerned, McD’s is just selling the toy for 10 cents, so therefore, obviously, a penny needs to be collected and forwarded to Sacramento for each sale? (But of course, if you walk up and offer your 10-cent donation for just the toy, they’ll say, “No dice.” They used to charge $2 for toy only purchases). Have the legal advisers for area McDonalds restaurants thought this through? I don’t know. Anyway, the approach they’re taking appears to be a giant F.U. to the City and County of San Francisco. I’ll tell you, the path they’re on is full of rusty nails and garbage pails. Just saying. But hey, what about McDonalds Corporation in Oak Brook, Illinois? Did they sign off on this? I wonder. (Did they indemnify the local owners? By contract, or, you know, some other way. I’m just curious about who came up with this ten cent idea.) Anyway, this is me thinking aloud, just raising issues. I can’t wrap my head around “ten cents adds a toy” and how that relates to state tax law. Like when I got my Android phone plus two-year contract for $50, I had to pay another $50 or so in sales tax because the phone is worth far more than $50. For example…

Oh Snap! MSM Media Smackdown of the Year: SFoodie’s Jonathan Kauffman vs. SF Chronicle Staff Writer Stacy Finz

Monday, November 28th, 2011

I don’t know, I think this is going to be it, here’s the best media smackdown for 2011.

So there I was on the Twitter and I saw this from John Birdsall:

“RT @jonkauffman: The Chron and the GGRA seem to be going after food trucks. What’s wrong with this story? http://t.co/WhjP1GLX

Intriguing, non? So I click on over to read “The Chronicle and the GGRA Go After Food Trucks

So then I’m all like yes, yes, yes, that’s exactly right, Jonathan Kauffman!

Go ahead, check it out, the “flawed” piece in the Chron: “Restaurants want to put brakes on food trucks.”

OK then.

To Tempest Bar’s Tony Cooney:

Uh, gee, maybe your place isn’t so hot for lunch. Why not work on that instead of crying like a baby? Perhaps you should shut down or move? 

To “San Francisco merchants, property managers and restaurant owners”:

This is America, Land of the Free, right? (Cough, you’re just a bunch of rent seekers, cough)

To “opponents [who] complain that the law doesn’t limit the number of food trucks that can operate in a specific location”:

Tough cookies!

To Rob Black, “a lawyer and executive director of Golden Gate Restaurant Association”:

Lo-ser! (You gotta say that one the right way, as if harrasing Darryl Strawberry from the bleachers. I mean, c’mon, do you think that a nerdy, downtown-backed lawyer out of U.C. Hastings College of Law would ever have a prayer of becoming Supervisor of District Six?)

To “those motherfuckers at the Golden Gate Restaurant Association“:

FUCK YOU. Oh, wait a second, that’s not my line, that’s a direct quote from Chris Daly’s wife back in 2006. And at the time I thought, “Gee, what an odd thing to say.” But I’m starting to understand what she was talking about.

For example, Chris Daly wanted letter grades from the health department posted outside of San Francisco restaurants but the GGRA put the kibosh on that. Mmmm. Now, let’s take the time to explore this.

Check it:

“An overwhelming 83% of San Francisco surveyors say they agree that restaurants should be required to conspicuously post a letter grade reflecting the results of their health department inspection (as recently passed in NYC, taking a cue from LA).”

Consumers want this, but the GGRA doesn’t so guess what, we don’t have it. You know what GGRA? The bottom 20% of your members shouldn’t even be in business, so why do you spend so much time defending them?  

Hey, let’s see what Stanford Economist Phil Leslie has to say about letter grading:

“Sales at restaurants receiving an A grade rose 5.7 percent, or about $15,000 a year. B-level restaurant sales increased 0.7 percent, and sales at C-level establishments decreased 1 percent.”

So you don’t want that* for your members, huh, GGRA? 

I don’t know why restaurant owners in San Francisco expect so much. I don’t know why they don’t expect to ever have any competition.

Remember this earlier in the year, when a struggling restaurateur went apeshit and starting parking her SUV specifically to block a food truck?

I’ll put a credit in if you want, but I don’t think you do. She’s still out there. 

Oh, different day, different street, different truck, different obstructionist but the same purpose of parking vehicles in spaces to kick food trucks out of San Francisco.

I’ll put a credit in if you want, but I don’t think you do. That owner is still out there. 

Struggling restaurateurs go after food trucks for the same reason they go after Yelp, IMO.

Speaking of which, maybe this is the kind of thing what fuels the wrath of legacy restaurant owners?

This review is completely devoid of the passion associated with the Japanese Curry truck fiasco.

Foodwise: Salads = 3 stars, (Mixt Greens / Working Girls/ Sellers Mkt and even Portico or Lee’s are better though). Sandwiches = 1 star (this has become an office joke.  $8+ for two pieces of meat, 1 teaspoon of sourkraut, and 1 piece of cheese.  Not prepared to order, sitting in a cooler behind the counter!

Service: meh.

AtmosphereAwkward flow from left to right , pleasant enough tables outside

Price: Crap.  My salad was smaller than any of the choices above but cost more.  And I went simple.”

Could be.

In closing, let’s all give thanks to SFoodie Jonathan Kauffman.

Congratulations, JK, on winning MSM Media Smackdown of the Year, 2011.

*”This study examines the effect of an increase in product quality information to consumers on firms’choices of product quality. In 1998, Los Angeles County introduced hygiene quality grade cards to bedisplayed in restaurant windows. We show that the grade cards cause (i) restaurant health inspection scores to increase, (ii) consumer demand to become sensitive to changes in restaurants’ hygiene quality,and (iii) the number of foodborne illness hospitalizations to decrease. We also provide evidence thatthis improvement in health outcomes is not fully explained by consumers substituting from poor hygiene restaurants to good hygiene restaurants. These results imply the grade cards cause restaurants to make hygiene quality improvements”

Dennis Herrera Throws Down: San Francisco City Attorney Goes After Chinatown’s Dick Lee Pastry for Wage and Hour Violations

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Two-star(!) rated Dick Lee Pastry at 716 Jackson in Chinatown is getting spanked by City Attorney Dennis Herrera over wage theft issues today.

But first a word from our health department, which, you know, has employees who would like the City to require letter grades to be posted outside of every joint in town. You know, the way that San Diego, that Progressive bastion, does it. But our Golden Gate Restaurant Association said no so that’s that, no Department of Health letter grades posted at restaurants in the 415.

Check it:

Violation descriptions:

  • 009 Rodents – Immediate Risk Each food facility shall be kept free of vermin: rodents, (rats, mice), cockroaches, flies.(114040)
  • 014 No Water – An adequate, protected, pressurized, potable supply of hot water (120F) and cold water shall be provided at all times. (114095)
  • 019 Shell Eggs – Maintain raw shall eggs at or below 45F (113995, 113997)
  • 024 Ready-To-Eat-Food – Exposed to Possible Contamination from Raw Meats/Poultry/Fish/Eggs All food shall be manufactured, produced, prepared, packed, served so as to be pure, free from contamination, adulteration and spoilage. All food must be stored in an approved facility. Food shall be covered and stored as to be protected and kept free from contamination. Food shall be stored in approved containers and labeled as to contents. Food shall be stored at least 6” off the floor on approved shelving. (113980, 114010, 114020, 114080)
  • 031 Improperly Cleaned/Not Maintained Clean -All utensils and equipment shall be clean, fully operative and in good repair. (114050, 114090)
  • 033 Backflow/Back Siphonage -The potable water supply shall be protected with a backflow or back-siphonage protection device, as required by applicable plumbing codes. (114095)
  • 045 Shellfish Tags/Records – Facility shall maintain tags/records from shellfish for a at least 90 days. (114003, Title 17, CCR)

I’ll tell you, small business owners who ignore one set of rules, tend to ignore other sets of rules, that’s been my experience.

Anyway, here’s the news, it goes on and on:

Wage theft lawsuit seeks to recover $440K in back pay, interest for cheated workers

Dick Lee Pastry paid well below minimum wage, demanded long hours with no overtime, falsified payroll records, retaliated against workers

SAN FRANCISCO (July 12, 2011) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today sued Dick Lee Pastry, Inc. and its owners and operators for violating state and local laws intended to ensure minimum wages, overtime compensation, and lawful competition by failing to pay more than $440,000 in wages plus interest to seven of their employees. The litigation comes as the result of an investigation by San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement under the direction of Division Manager Donna Levitt. Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are Peter Yu and Ada M. Chiu, who own the restaurant at 716 Jackson Street.

Herrera’s lawsuit, which was filed in San Francisco Superior Court today, seeks to recover compensation for the cheated workers that would include all unlawfully withheld wages, plus ten-percent interest, plus penalties of $50 per day for the duration of their employer’s wage violations. Herrera is additionally seeking penalties of $50 per day per employee as compensation to OLSE under San Francisco’s Minimum Wage Ordinance; potentially severe civil penalties under California’s Unfair Competition Law; and attorneys’ fees and costs associated with the action.

“Robbing employees of wages to which they’re entitled doesn’t just hurt working families — it also hurts honest businesses and their employees by corrupting a competitive marketplace,” said Dennis Herrera. “Dick Lee Pastry stands out even among the most egregious perpetrators of wage theft in San Francisco. They paid wages well below the legal minimum, demanded long hours with no overtime, instructed workers to lie to labor investigators, and retaliated against those who sought to protect their rights. I hope today’s lawsuit sends a strong message to other would-be wage cheats about the seriousness of our resolve to protect working men and women in San Francisco. I applaud the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement for their investigation of this case, and I’m grateful to the Chinese Progressive Association for their community outreach efforts.”

See you after the jump

(more…)

Tent City in SoMA! Are People Lining Up On 10th Street Just to Get the New DPW Food Truck Permits?

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Well, first it was all like this, and then it was all like this, but now it’s like you can’t legally sell food from a food truck how many hundreds of feet from a legacy restaurant? Isn’t that called corporate welfare when you try to protect struggling bidnesses from competition? (Alls I know is that the Golden Gate Restaurant Association thinks this whole sitch is “fair,” which is a big fat clue that it’s not.)

Anywho, this was the scene on (speaking of corporate welfare) Tenth Street in SoMA betwixt Market and Mission over the weekend on Saturday. The white signs say “DPW Mobile Food Permits – Line Starts Here,” or something. (I could have broken stride to check, I could have stopped to actually talk with these poor souls, you know, to find out, but I haven’t renewed my journalistic license since the SFPD started charging $50 a year…)

Is the new mobile food fad just another “DEAD END” for gastronomic entrepreneurs? (Not sure if this new gold rush is ending or if its still beginning, actually.)

Click to expand

Anyway, Bon Courage, Tent City denizens!

OMG, the Famous JapaCurry Food Truck Debuts NORTH of Market Street Today! See You At Pine and Sansome, 11:30AM to 1:00 PM

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Will the SoMA crowds follow the popular, award-winning JapaCurry food truck to its new location north of Market at Pine and Sansome?

Here’s the lunch rush on Mission as it was yesterday:

Click to expand

Of course the struggling bricks and mortar lunchtime purveyors near the intersection of Second and Market famously banded together to chase away the younger, better-looking, more popular competition last month. (That kind of thing happens sometimes, of course.) We’ll just have to wait and see if their sales of potato chips and cigarettes can get back to normal…

Anyway, see you there!

Food Truck Town Hall Today. Plus, Haterz vs. Shills, It’s YelpWar! And, Cigarettes and Chips vs. JapaCurry Truck

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Item 1: Don’t miss the big, official Mobile Food Town Hall today. The BOMA, she has the deets:

“The Mobile Food Town Hall will be held on February 25, 2011 at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, Atrium Conference Room, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Click here or see our previous blog post, below, for more information.”

Will “concerns” be “addressed?” Oh hells yes! You can count on that…

Item 2:  Yelp can’t seem to be able to put down the current YelpWar taking place right here, right now. Check it:

Click to expand

Now, what are the odds that three different people decided to join the Yelp all at the same time to post one-star reviews of the same old place? Pretty low, actually. Those are the haterz, they got riled up over the whole Second Street Food fight issue, one that just got picked up by the WSJ.

But what about the shills? Is it possible that someone with an ownership interest in already-poorly-rated Harvest & Rowe is posting multiple five-star reviews? (Would this be like writing an annual performance review of yourself for your boss to peruse? “I work well with others, all our great new ideas came from me…”)

Anyway, check it, a re-review from “Erin A” or somebody:

But surprisingly, the Yelp (or somebody) has already taken down the five-star re-review from earlier this month. (That’s pretty smart Yelp, if you can figure things out like that, srsly.)

Now, speaking of which, what’s up with Jose R? He just happens to loooooove the Harvest & Rowe but he’s just not into the highly-rated Mixt Greens, the hated competition of Harvest & Rowe. Isn’t that funny? These days, you just can’t tell who is behind what, huh?

Anyway, draw your own conclusions….

And Item 3: That recent bit in the Wall Street Journal quoted people from three bricks-and-mortar food purveyors on or around Second and Mission. Let’s meet them why not?

Here’s Muffins, Muffins:

The food trucks are a threat to us,” said Diane Tran, owner of Muffins, Muffins, a pastry and sandwich shop on Second Street and one of the restaurants that signed the police complaint against JapaCurry. “They park in front of us, take our customers and leave the truck running so we get the smell of gas and smoke in our shop. We wish they weren’t around here, because we don’t do well when they are.”

It’s easy to complain, huh? Point in fact, the JapaCurry truck has never parked in front of her business, seen here:

So, how can the owner of Muffins to the Second Power detect the smell of gas and smoke from one particular vehicle parked at least tens of yards away? Or maybe all that smoke is from her customers? Did she or somebody else before or does she or somebody else now want to sell cigarettes or something? Can’t quite tell:

(Hey, do you think the “E” in “E. Mar” stands for Eric? Well, it does! Hurray!)

She also sells the potato chips.

Here’s Sammy’s on Second. Do you think the owner would be able to tell if a food truck happened to be parked around the block on any particular day – do you think his sales of bags of potato chips go down due to all the potato chips that JapaCurry sells? (But JapaCurry doesn’t sell potato chips, see?)

And Tart to Tart, well that’s a chain, right? That’s a chain what sells potato chips ‘n stuff for lunch. (Is that your A-game, T to T?)

But what about all the popular places in the area? Are they whinging to the SFPD as well? Don’t know. But you’d think the more successful places might be too busy to hate ‘n stuff. I’d be curious to see a list of the aggrieved sometime.

All right, that’s it for now. Place nice and fly straight, people!