Cost of maintaining parklets too expensive for some San Francisco restaurants

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Friday, April 21, 2023
Cost of maintaining parklets too expensive for some SF restaurants
For the first time, San Francisco restaurants are having to pay in order to keep their outdoor dining parklets in operation.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco began rolling out new rules and regulations for parklets in the city in the beginning of April.

For the first time, local restaurants will have to pay in order to keep their parklets in operation.

For Mahmoud Khossoussi, the cost of keeping up the parklets outside his two San Francisco restaurants, simply wasn't worth it.

"It's going to cost me around $100,000 at least," Khossoussi said.

MORE: Some San Franciscans hesitant as mayor pushes for permanent dining parklets

Follow new, stricter rules and pay fees, and restaurants can make the outdoor dining spaces permanent.

"Fees for parklets range depending on the tier of parklet that you're seeking to operate as well as how many parking spaces that you're seeking to occupy," said Robin Abad-Ocubillo, the parklet program's director.

But some form of relief could soon be coming. Local restaurant groups say they've been working with city leaders to find ways to cut the costs of maintaining parklets.

For Mahmoud, that help would come too late. It's the cost of building his parklets and making them up to code that's the real killer.

MORE: Permanent outdoor dining parklets in SF? Why not everyone is on board

"If someone's short on cash and has to front that money, if you can't staff for it. There's all these things that you're like, is this really worth it or should I just take it down," said Laurie Thomas, of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.

While the city is offering some incentives already, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association is trying to get officials to waive the fees - at least for the first year.

They say while they recognize that it takes money to run the parklet program, many restaurants in the city are just scraping by.

And after a few difficult years for Mahmoud, his decision was easy.

"In order to keep the doors open for my customers, we cannot afford to do that. It's as simple as that," Khossoussi said.

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