Streamlining the Restaurant Business Permitting Process

The San Francisco Business Portal launched last year as a comprehensive web resource for information surrounding business registration, permits, and licenses. As a part of the second phase of the project, the Business Portal team worked with the Controller’s Office City Services Auditor (CSA) to create an applicant-focused map for the process of permitting a new restaurant, as well as a report that makes recommendations to improve the restaurant business permitting process in San Francisco. An overview of the results is as follows:

  • Most issues with the permitting process occur between departments, and many first time applicants complained of getting inconsistent information from the different people they worked with.
  • Turnaround time needs to be a key department performance measure.
  • Permits that people are not aware of need to be linked with critical to open permits.
  • Co-location of permitting staff needs to be a priority, to eventually create a geographically one-stop shop.
  • Need to improve Treasure-Tax Collector data linkages with Assessor and with consolidated billing departments.
  • More applications should be submitted online. Department websites need to be improved to be more clear and user friendly.
  • Payment methods should be streamlined.

A hearing has been scheduled to review the findings and discuss next steps for the City to take to begin streamlining the process to restaurant permitting. GGRA will speak at the hearing, and we ask that you give us recommendations that we can incorporate into our testimony at the hearing. Do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, and please email Samantha any feedback you have on the permitting process in San Francisco by Tuesday, July 21.

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