Guide to Laws for Restaurant Customers & Owners in the San Francisco area

Many laws related to restaurants are made at the state level as well as the local level. See our Guide to Laws for Restaurants in California.

1. Health & Safety
Restaurant customer

Do restaurants have to post their health grades?

Yes. You can find the full score through the SF Dept of Public Health.

How do I file a complaint against a restaurant for unhealthy conditions?

You can make a complaint with the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

2. Charges

What is this “S.F. Mandates” or “Healthy SF” charge on my restaurant bill?

Restaurants in San Francisco often place an extra fee on the bill labeled something like “SF Mandates” or “Healthy S.F. surcharge” but some now use a more generic wording.

The mandates they refer to are the California and SF requirements on certain businesses to provide employees with paid sick leave and other health related benefits. But they do not need to pass on these costs to customers, and could potentially absorb the costs instead.

Are restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area allowed to place this charge on the bill without letting customers know upfront?

No, a new law in California bans this type of hidden fees or surcharges for restaurants and other businesses.

3. Plastic straws and utensils

As of January 2019, sit-down restaurants in California will not be allowed to serve plastic straws unless a customer specifically requests it. Many cities, including SF, also ban other plastic utensils. See more at our Guide to Laws about the Environment.

4. Other

Is it illegal for restaurants in San Francisco to serve shark fin soup?

Yes, as of 2011 throughout California it is illegal.1AB376

Is it illegal for a restaurant in California to serve foie gras?

As of January 2019, yes it is illegal to serve foie gras, the French delicacy made from the fattened livers of force-fed ducks and geese. A restaurant caught serving foie gras could be fined up to $1,000. See more about Animal Rights

Related Pages

Health & Healthcare Law in SF

Consumer Law in SF

See all Legal Guides



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