Ike's Place - What's Wrong with SF

DonRoss's picture

Trying to operate a business in SF is hard work. Many business owners complain about the endless redtape and obstacles to running a successful business in our City. Having spent time studying the environment in other major cities - Boston, LA, San Diego, and New York I'd have to agree.

Small business owners in SF have to receive endless permits, are subject to endless review by multiple departments, and ultimately get many different answers and obstacles to opening and then ultimately running their business. In the City's above the remove all obstacles to running a business - and in fact give fast-tracked permitting and exemptions from certain taxes to encourage growth.

Ike's Place is a perfect example of what is wrong with SF. This business, perhaps didn't have the exact paper work in order to operate in the location it grew its cult following. But instead of facilitating this business, SF sent multiple health inspectors to put pressure on, created multiple hoops for Ike to jump through at the Planning Department, and ultimately let 4 neighbors decide the fate of 50 employees.

So what happened, nothing. His business shut down. Small business make up 85% of our job market in the City, but yet we do little or anything to help them thrive. Sure, we have the small business assistance center, but its more of an information booth, tucked into the Teasurer's Office.

We need a dedicated team of committed staffers that will traverse the bureaucracy and fight to help small business expand. It is the only way we'll create more jobs in this City quickly and begin to thrive again as a local economy.

Kate Maeder's picture

Small business assistance

The bureaucracy is endless, you're right. Why does the city create so many hoops? I understand some rules and regulations, but there has to be a better way, a more efficient way. 

You know, there are resources out there for small businesses, though they're not really user friendly. Like: http://sfgsa.org/index.aspx?page=4206 People, like Jay Nath, are trying to use Gov2.0 to really help people.

And when you say "SF" sent multiple inspectors, don't forget PEOPLE sent those people - fellow San Franciscans. What we need to do is foster a culture of helping each other - not trying to shut each other down.

On a side note, Ike's Place re-opened to a nearby spot: http://ilikeikesplace.com/sanfran/ Thank god, because I love their Manage A Trois - Chicken Breast, Real Honey, Honey Mustard, BBQ, PepperJack, Swiss, Smoked Gouda - I feel like hopping in a cab and picking one up right now...

SpencerSF's picture

SF Gov. is not stupid...

SF Gov knows they are not efficient.  Efficiencies, and sustainable ones at that, require the hard hitting question of "Why?" for every process, every form, every person, every fee:  everything.  And that is scary to SF Gov and a very large mountain to climb.  But, Government for the people by the people is what has been forgotten. There is a term in business called "switching costs or switching barriers".  They are costs associated with changing suppliers of services or products.  San Francisco is a supplier to business in many way: residents, tax incentives, location, other businesses, access, etc etc. Big businesses when tired of the BS just up and leave.  Med to Small businesses do not have that luxury. They struggle to survive or close down all together. Who do you think provides more value for money to SFGov? Big or small businesses? (think payroll tax).  Residents have switching costs too! Own a home, kids, cars, friends etc etc...but jobs are drying up..do you stay and wait it out? Commute longer hours OR move to another state? Efficiencies are good for the end consumer, but being efficient means -someone or something loses (people, jobs etc etc).  That is why the status quo or my favourite acronyms are always applicable:  SNAFU and FUBAR. We want change, we must force change.

Phil Ting's picture

Small Business Assistance Center

You are right.  We have so many regulations that its a challenge for businesses just to comply with all the rules in SF.

There is a Small Business Assistance Center in City Hall, which is supposed to act as a one stop shop for small business - http://sfgsa.org/index.aspx?page=3805.  Its one of the best kept secrets.  They have a small staff but work hard to help small businesses.  Have any of you used it and tried their services?

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137