Even restaurants far from the Moscone Center and the “security zone” say they're losing a ton of business because of APEC, with all of its unexpected parking-space removals, worsened traffic, and customers just not wanting to deal with the APEC disruptions.
The traffic-jam and political-protest generator known as APEC was billed as an event that would bring $50 million into the local economy. But $50 million for who, exactly? Luxury hotels like the Fairmont and St. Regis are likely having a gangbusters week, as are hotel bars in the area. But several local media outlets have run stories in the last three days detailing how the arrival of APEC has decimated their revenue for the week.
On Monday, KGO spoke with a restaurant inside the Metreon, Bonchon Korean Fried Chicken, and the Metreon is of course inside the security zone. "Where are the people? I mean that's basically what the businesses are asking," Bonchon owner Manuel Ramirez told the station."We ended up closing the worst day as a business owner in SoMa. We've been there for 12 years, we know what the ups and downs of the area are like, and this was just complete disruption."
Again, that’s in an area where foot and auto traffic are restricted, so you’d figure they would see a loss in business. But some businesses nowhere near Moscone or the security zone are also seeing their week of business wiped out.
A separate piece in the Chronicle notes that several businesses have just shut down through Thursday, several of them nowhere near Moscone Center. Among them is b. Patisserie, which is all the way over in Pacific Heights. But the city put a bunch of “No Parking” signs up along Pine and California Streets near that businesses, causing serious disruption for that bakery and sandwich shop.
“My staff nor customers can park around here at all,” B. Patisserie co-owner Belinda Leong told the Chronicle.
And even over in Fisherman’s Wharf, where they put the Ferris wheel for pete’s sake, SFGate reports that Filipino restaurant Abacá also decided to close Wednesday and Thursday because their reservations have cratered. “We went into single-digit reservations when typically we’d have 100,” Abacá chef Francis Ang told SFGate. “We called everybody and told the staff to stay home.”
Adjacent to the security zone, Novela, the cocktail spot at 662 Mission Street, hasn't seen much business so far either. Novela partner Arash G. tells KRON4, "There’s almost no foot traffic in our area... And also the companies, that are typically the companies and the workers in our area that would typically come here for happy hour, they are also working from home."
The only bright spot for these restaurants, presumably, is that Thursday is the last major day of APEC, which has a very limited schedule of events Friday, and ends outright on Saturday.
Image: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 12: Police man the entrance to the Moscone Center where protesters of the ongoing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) global trade summit were headed on November, 12, 2023 in San Francisco, California. APEC, which pulls together dozens of world leaders and hundreds of CEOs from 21 member economies in the Pacific Rim, runs through November 17. U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to meet. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)