Category Archives: Business Assistance

Helping SF Restaurants and Food Businesses Navigate the City’s Permitting Process

Open in SF banner

The Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Office of Small Business recently launched the Small Business Acceleration Program, a first-of-its-kind pilot program that provides direct services to individuals seeking to open small restaurants and other brick and mortar food-based businesses in San Francisco and guides them through the current complex permitting process.

Through this program, which is designed for individuals opening restaurants and other food-based businesses who are ready to engage in the permitting process, a dedicated case manager is available to:

  • Provide information and resources about the process and requirements
  • Evaluate individual needs
  • Engage and instruct throughout the process
  • Coordinate a suite of City services

For more information on the Small Business Acceleration Program, visit

Facing the Music: Copyright & Licensing Requirements to Play Music at Your Business

Facing the Music event header

Is the music played in your business properly licensed, or are you at risk of a costly lawsuit? Many San Francisco restaurants, bars, retailers, and other businesses are unaware of the requirement to license the music that they play. Whether you’re using televisions, hosting live entertainment, or simply plugging in an iPod, you likely need a license to protect yourself from a lawsuit.

Please join the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Michelman & Robinson attorney Ilse Scott, the San Francisco Entertainment Commission, and the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, for a free seminar covering music licensing requirements and the options you have!

Facing the Music: Copyright & Licensing Requirements to Play Music at Your Business
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
San Francisco Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Meeting Room
100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA
2:30–3:30pm, FREE TO ATTEND

Please email Samantha Higgins at Samantha[at] with any questions.

City Programs for San Francisco’s Nightlife and Entertainment Businesses

San Francisco’s $4.2 billion nightlife and entertainment industry – including restaurants, bars, live music venues, and nightclubs – is critical to the City economy and vital to local arts and culture. As San Francisco continues to grow, you may be concerned about the impact that sound from your nightlife business may have on your current and future neighbors. Additionally, you may be wondering how to retain and grow your customer base moving forward.

These City services can help you strengthen your business in order to remain competitive and successful for years to come.

Address Your Sound Challenges

Concerned about the cost of materials for sound mitigation or other business improvements? Microloans sponsored by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development can provide fast and convenient access to funds at competitive interest rates.

Potential strategies for sound mitigation could include:

  • Sound blocking walls and curtains
  • Directional speakers
  • Speaker trussing
  • A vestibule door system
  • Enclosing your performance area

Not sure where your sound challenges are coming from? The San Francisco Entertainment Commission’s sound inspectors are available to help you identify sources of sound leakage.

Grow Your Business

Beyond addressing noise, strengthen and grow your businesses for long-term success! The San Francisco Small Business Development Center offers no-cost consulting that can help your business improve, with advisers specializing in:

  • Restaurant and bar operations
  • Access to capital
  • Financial management
  • QuickBooks
  • Business strategy
  • Marketing, advertising, and social media
  • Business plans
  • Product pricing
  • Retail

For more information about any of these services, contact Ben Van Houten at the Office of Economic & Workforce Development at ben.vanhouten[at] or 415-554-7038.

Encouraging Compatibility between Entertainment Venues and New Residential Developments

With the passage of new legislation in May 2015, San Francisco has become the first city in the United States to adopt protections designed to help entertainment venues located near new residential developments.

Among other provisions, the new ordinance encourages compatibility between entertainment venues and new residents by:

  • Authorizing the San Francisco Entertainment Commission to hold a hearing on any proposed residential development located near a Place of Entertainment and empowering the Commission to provide written comments and recommendations to the Planning Department and Department of Building Inspection about any noise issues related to the proposed project. These hearings will foster productive dialogue between venues and developers at the beginning of the residential development process.
  • Requiring lessors and sellers of residential property near Places of Entertainment to disclose to new lessees and purchasers the potential for noise and other inconveniences potentially associated with nearby venues.
  • Establishing that no Place of Entertainment located near a new residential development shall be a public or private nuisance on the basis of noise if the venue operates in compliance with its permits and appropriate laws.

For more information about the new law’s requirements, read a PDF copy of the legislation.

To learn how to find out more about new construction projects in your neighborhood, visit our page “Understanding New Construction Projects in Your Neighborhood.”

1 2