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San Francisco Food Industry Plays Vital Role To Local Economy

Like the tech and healthcare sectors, the food industry plays a vital role in San Francisco's economy. An essential part of what makes San Francisco a world-class city is consistent mention as one of America's best destinations for food.

In fact, the city is frequently regarded as the top food destination in the country. Late last year, that distinction grew even greater as two San Francisco restaurants made history by becoming the first restaurants in the city to ever receive the coveted three star status from Michelin Guides. With San Francisco's Benu and Saison elevated to what many industry experts consider the most prestigious honor in the restaurant business, interest has grown even larger in haute cuisine.

Among the top paying positions in the San Francisco restaurant business is general manager. According to the latest information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average mean salary in San Francisco for general and operations manager in the full-service restaurants category is $76,600. While obtaining this position is highly competitive, it generally requires experience and has varying salaries, Glassdoor lists more than 300 open restaurant general manager positions.

One restaurant veteran who epitomizes the essence of a top-flight general manager is Andrew Upton of Chaya Brasserie San Francisco, the celebrated restaurant whose executive chef is known as the creator of "La Nouvelle Cuisine Franco-Japanese" and has artifacts on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Upton, whose past experience in the restaurant industry includes work with Daniel Boulud, one of the world's most famous chefs and restaurateurs, says the Japanese style of hospitality known as "omotenashi" inspires his current role at this popular spot along the Embarcadero. He also says San Franciscans are lucky to live in a city that celebrates farmers, local meats and the principles of farm-to-table dining. No longer a specialty in local restaurants, the elements of New American Cuisine are now a San Francisco standard.

Still, as an expert in the ever-changing San Francisco restaurant scene, Upton says the choices for restaurant goers are highly competitive. Nevertheless, with San Francisco having more restaurants per capita than any other city in America, the Leisure and Hospitality sector, including restaurants, gained 4,700 new jobs over a one year period and added success is likely to be in concert with the rest of the local economy.

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on

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