San Francisco is one of the most expensive places in the world to live -- six figure incomes are considered "low" and even the tiniest homes are farcically expensive.
Housing costs are fueled by a combination of property speculation, NIMBYism that prevents high-density projects, and, of course, the world-beating wealth inequality of tech-sector jobs vs everyone else.
Restaurants are feeling the squeeze. Even with the minimum wage for tipped workers rising to $15, food service workers can't make ends meet (dishwashers can make $18-19/hour and still be housing-impoverished). To bridge the gap, 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.
“It’s really sad,” said Jennifer Sullivan, who worked for years as a server in the area. Twenty years ago, she moved from Chicago to Oakland, where she rented a $750 studio apartment and waitressed her way through college. She fears that story would not be possible in the Bay Area now.
“I’ve even had dystopian future visions of buses full of labor that come from the outskirts of these really wealthy areas,” she said.
A few blocks from the original Souvla, at the celebrated modern French restaurant Jardinière, the chef Traci Des Jardins said her labor costs, including taxes and health care, now eat up 43 percent of her budget.
When she opened Jardinière in 1997, they were 27 percent. (Mr. Bililies said Souvla’s percentage is in the mid-20s now, even with paid vacation and retirement benefits.)
San Francisco Restaurants Can’t Afford Waiters. So They’re Putting Diners to Work. [Emily Badger/NY Times]
A new study reported in Nature (Sci-Hub mirror) tracks down the origins of the mysterious rise in CFC-11, a banned ozone-depleting greenhouse gas whose rise was first reported a year ago, and blames the increase on manufacturing in eastern China.
Mark Zuckerberg offered to let Chinese premier Xi Jinping name his firstborn (seriously), Apple purged the Chinese App Store of privacy tools at the request of the politburo; Google secretly built a censoring search-engine for use in China, but America's Big Tech companies are sounding the alarm that they will no longer be able to […]
Mountain View -- home to some of Silicon Valley's most profitable companies, including Google -- is one of the most expensive places in the world to live, thanks to the sky-high wages commanded by techies, who have gone on to bid up all the real-estate in the region.
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