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No Free Food For Techies: Mountain View Cracks Down On Companies’ Cafeterias

In progressive Silicon Valley, large companies can no longer employ food workers to provide free meals to employees.

Mountain View is so progressive that employers are not allowed to feed their employees. Why? Well, it’s the economy, stupid.

City officials no longer allow local companies from subsidizing meals to employees, as a means to encourage locals to purchase food from vendors nearby. So when fall comes, Mountain View companies known for treating employees with some of the most Instagramable meals out there will no longer be allowed to. And what’s worse, other very progressive, very forward-looking cities such as San Francisco are considering passing similar rules.

Despite Mountain View’s heavy-handed involvement in the name of boosting the local economy, the protectionist policy would hurt employer-owned cafeterias and their employees, as companies can still purchase meals from local restaurants. And as you may have imagined, the local restaurant association known as  Golden Gate Restaurant Association has lobbied heavily for the rule, arguing that “it’s hard to compete with free.”

While the rule is not retroactive, so existing cafeterias would not be hurt, if employers like Twitter decided to expand their food court, the rule would apply to them. This would restrict their capacity to employ more food workers, hampering the local economy as a result.

As Business Insider reports, the effort to restrict companies trying to feed their employees in San Francisco is part of the city’s call to help with the rising housing prices. Techies are now held responsible for the growth of homelessness in the region, not the highly restrict zoning and construction rules that make it nearly impossible for housing providers to compete to meet the demands of different consumers.

San Francisco is even trying to add yet another tax on large companies so they can use the money to “fix” the homelessness issue. And Mountain View plans on following closely behind, proposing its own new tax to use the money on transit projects.

Written by Alice Salles

Alice Salles is a contributor to The Schpiel.

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