A major driver of the slow restaurant permit process was that first-time applicants were repeatedly asked for the same information on different permit forms across several City agencies. The delay in permitting review meant increased costs for the businesses along with significant frustration and counter-productive work effort by city staff from each department who were required to separately reach out to obtain necessary information to fulfill their review. This could delay the application review process by days or weeks. The old process also involved hard copy referrals to Zoning and Fire departments. Restaurant permit applicants were stifled with a prolonged process and wait times that could become prohibitively expensive.
We used technological innovation to improve San Francisco’s restaurant permitting process. This offers restaurant entrepreneurs a seamless experience. An applicant seeking a restaurant permit can use the information provided to the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector to pre-populate and standardize the information needed by the other agencies involved in the restaurant permitting process. Staff can view and easily update information on a multi-dimensional application and make referrals to other departments such as fire and zoning all with a mere click of a button.