The Bay Area’s New Target: Free Food

Two San Francisco supervisors have introduced legislation that would ban free meals in the workplace, following in the footsteps of Mountain View.

The ordinance, which would apply only to new businesses, was introduced by Asha Safai and Aaron Peskin. It would prohibit new companies from offering cafeteria lunches free of charge.

The thinking behind it: "We want your employees to get out of the office, we want you to support our small businesses, we want you to interact and add to the cultural vibrancy of our city and we want you to make San Francisco that helps the city moving into the future.”

Fair enough. But the thought of using the heavy hand of government to force people into local restaurants at lunchtime has rubbed plenty of people the wrong way. Free workplace eateries have become an attractive component of tech and startup culture. For some people, there’s literally nothing worth coming into work for except the free food.

San Francisco’s controversial proposal comes after Mountain View’s decision to quash a free in-house cafeteria that was slated to open on the new Facebook campus this fall.