About About


The Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA) is a non-profit trade association founded in 1936 to promote, extend and protect the interests of the broader restaurant industry, and to serve our members in the San Francisco Bay Area. Restaurants are a high-risk and generally low-profit-margin enterprise undertaken by people passionate about a wonderful cultural tradition: eating out. GGRA is a resource to help our members keep the doors open and tables set.

Information, Cost Savings, Marketing, Education, Political Advocacy:

  • Inform you of important industry issues through newsletters, website, seminars
  • Reduce operating costs through group purchases and energy management
  • Showcase members through events like Eat Drink SF
  • Deliver compliance information for new and existing government regulation
  • Network within the restaurant industry
  • Most importantly, when it comes to laws that affect your business and the people you employ, we bring your concerns directly to the people in City Hall and Sacramento.

Three types of membership and 800 member locations:

  • Restaurant: restaurants, caterers and bars
  • Vendor: businesses supplying goods and services to the restaurant industry
  • Affiliate: associations and educational institutions

The Association is governed by a Board of Directors elected annually by the membership at large. The work of the association is done by the staff and committees appointed by the Board of Directors. Standing committees include Executive, Membership, Finance, Public Affairs and Education. Ad hoc committees include Eat Drink SF, Golf and Nomination. The GGRA Scholarship Foundation, is a 501 (c)(3) and provides annual scholarships to students seeking degrees in culinary or hospitality programs.

Political Advocacy

What motivated the founders in 1936 to create the GGRA? They simply wanted their industry represented in local and state politics. They wanted their legislators to know both the intended and unintended consequences of proposed legislation upon the restaurant community. That desire is still present today, making political advocacy a major component of GGRA's annual work plan.

We clearly understand that restaurateurs are busy managing their business. They do not have the time to follow each piece of proposed legislation, meet with legislators to educate the legislator to the impact on their restaurant for each piece of legislation, and follow the legislation through committee, full Board or Assembly, to Mayor or Governor signature. Once legislation is passed, we publish through newsletter and web posting the requirements of the legislation, often with options and referrals to simplify implementation.

In today's political world legislation may take months to years to go from proposal to completed legislation.

Detailed Examples:

San Francisco Healthcare Security Ordinance(Employer Mandate for Healthcare)
We first met with Supervisor Ammiano and Mayor Newsom in September, 2005. Through the political process the GGRA participated in 18 public hearings, met with supervisors, mayor and mayoral staff, labor and healthcare advocates numerous times, and served on the Universal Healthcare Council. Our message was clear and consistent: the reform should make healthcare affordable. Unfortunately the employer mandate is not affordable for our members or industry, especially if and when the City brings the current spending requirement up to the non-capped rate specified in the ordinance. The effective date of that adjustment is stated as 2010 in the ordinance. Fortunately the City has decided not to raise the expense to that level until at least 2011. In October 2009 we are waiting to hear if the United States Supreme Court will hear our legal challenge of the spending requirement. We have won a verdict in Federal Court, and lost an appeal in front of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. If we are accepted by the US Supreme Court, and win our case in spring, 2010, a period of almost 5 years will have been spent from original proposal to completed legal process. Certainly the restaurateur by him or herself could not dedicate the time or resources for this representation.

Nutrition Labeling
In this case both state and local laws were proposed over a short period of time. On the state level Senator Alex Padilla introduced AB120 which required written nutrition information on all menus for similar restaurants with 9 or more locations. The nutrition information required laboratory testing, at a cost of $700 or more per menu item. The GGRA communicated regularly with the California Restaurant Association over the proposed legislation. The GGRA worked with Senator Padilla's staff, in addition to Assembly members Fiona Ma and Mark Leno, to modify the legislation. Computer data is now an alternative to lab testing, hugely reducing the cost of nutrition evaluation to impacted restaurants. The number of similar restaurants to trigger the nutrition labeling was increased from 9 to 15, a positive improvement but well short of the 25 restaurants the GGRA pursued. The GGRA also argued both locally and in Sacramento that the legislation should require calories only, certainly the most understood measurement of health in food by the consumer. The bill, which required several nutrition listings, was eventually vetoed by the Governor in 2007.

In 2009, Senator Padilla introduced SB1420. This legislation changed the number of similar restaurants required to trigger the nutrition labeling to 20. The requirement for many restaurants is calories only, with a start date of January, 2011. The CRA supported the legislation, which the governor eventually signed into law. One of the positive items in the legislation is the state standard for nutrition labeling clearly states it replaces any local ordinances, setting the same business standard throughout the state. Again from original proposal to implementation a period of over 4 years elapsed.

Recent Measures:

2006 San Francisco Sick Pay Ballot Measure
Negotiated reasonable notification clause, and Paid Time Off to meet standard for Sick Pay. PTO gives maximum flexibility to employee to maximize utility of their sick pay/vacation pay/personal time and benefited restaurants by valuing the monies they already spent on vacation pay for their employees (which is now defined as PTO). It should be noted that sick pay legislation is happening all over the country, with PTO meeting the standard for sick pay.

2007 Styrofoam Ban
GGRA endorsed the ban proposed by Supervisor Aaron Peskin. GGRA proposed an affordability clause for disposable serviceware. The clause did not require restaurants to buy disposable silverware until the cost of disposable is within 15% of the cost on non-disposable. A short term economic hardship was avoided, and a market was created for a company to bring affordable disposable silverware to market as they will start with 4000 restaurant clients.

2007 Bay Area Air Quality Management District
GGRA worked with BAAQMD to consider filter size (HEPA) as an alternative to requiring smog hogs for restaurants that triggered the requirement. In September, 2007 the BAAQMD Board voted down the original requirement, and later adopted a more flexible requirement triggered by restaurants with 10 or more square feet of grill, and who cooked 800 or more pounds of beef on a weekly basis.

2009 Supervisor Daly Smoking Ban
GGRA worked to remove personal enforcement clause, which required restaurant to ask patrons and non-patrons on the sidewalk in front of their business to stop smoking. Clearly the clause represented a health concern for the employee leaving the building to ask someone on the sidewalk to quit smoking, as well as a liability concern for the restaurant itself. With the assistance of Supervisor David Chiu the clause was modified to remove our concern.

Eye on the Future:

We are currently monitoring efforts to tax alcohol, increase immigration enforcement through business rather than policy and border control, and increase sales tax and gross receipts tax. We have lobbied for flexibility in the California meal breaks law, an effort partially reduced in importance through recent court cases which have sided with the employer making the break available rather than having to guarantee and document each break. Again, the newsletter and website are utilized to communicate recent rulings to the restaurants members.

In our political advocacy, we work to create clean and safe locations for our members to do business. We try to limit taxes and fees in creating a positive business environment. We advocate to pass, modify or oppose legislation based upon the merit of each individual piece of legislation. We work to educate our public officials on the impact of proposed legislation to our industry, and often recommend modifications that allow the intent of the legislation while minimizing the negative impact on the restaurant community.

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GGRA and Charitable Work

Restaurants are a part of the fabric of San Francisco communities. Each year, restaurants and suppliers donate countless meals, products and services to charitable auctions for schools, churches and worthwhile causes. At any of San Francisco's many fundraising events, you've probably been treated to hors d'oeuvres donated by a caring, local restaurant. Restaurants also organize events themselves. The GGRA and restaurant community are passionate about supporting a variety of charitable causes throughout the Bay Area.

GGRA Sponsored events which contribute directly to charity. Some past beneficiaries include:

  • San Francisco Food Bank
  • Project Open Hand
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Feeding America (in partnership with Epicurious.com)
  • GGRA Scholarship Foundation

Communication to GGRA Restaurants to support fund raising events. Historical beneficiaries include:

  • Fall Fest supporting Meals on Wheels
  • Dine Out For Life

Perhaps the greatest contribution of the restaurants to support the community is the hors d'oeuvres and dinner gift certificates each restaurant donates to the hundreds of requests they receive each year from non-profits, schools, and community organizations.


We hope you'll consider sponsoring charitable events that the GGRA organizes each year. You can build relationships with fellow GGRA members, introduce your business to diners in a spirit of goodwill, and support the ways GGRA serves your industry and gives you a voice in local and state politics-all while contributing to charitable causes and educational programs for students in the hospitality industry.

Sponsorship packages include:

  • Recognition on website
  • Recognition on event invitations
  • Signage at events and/or program listing
  • Inclusion in press releases, social media and promotional materials
  • Tickets to sponsored event

The GGRA updates the schedule every year in an effort to keep all events unique and rewarding. Historical events include:

  • Annual member meeting where the Board of Directors are elected
  • Golf Tournament benefitting GGRA PAC or GGRA Scholarship Foundation
  • Hall of Fame Dinner benefitting GGRA Scholarship Foundation
  • Toast of the Town benefitting GGRA PAC
  • A Food Affaire (latest evolution of Toast of the Town)
  • Eat Drink SF benefitting:
    • Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA)
    • Slow Food San Francisco Nomad Project
    • Meals on Wheels
    • GGRA Scholarship Foundation
    • La Cocina
    • Food Bank of San Francisco and Marin
    • Share Our Strength

Sponsorship programs start at $2500 and will be customized to meet your individual goals.

© 1936 - 2013 Golden Gate Restaurant Association