There was a time when Silicon Valley was home to many enticing restaurants and the economy was working for small businesses and mom and pop shops.
However, the boom of large tech corporations such as Google and Facebook is making life hard for restaurant owners today. The New York Times reports that these tech giants are offering salaries and benefits that far outrank what local small business owners can afford to pay employees, and are therefore taking workers from them.
Aside from that, they are using their own restaurants to feed their staff. There are appealing restaurants in the area that are thriving, but they are often associated with the tech companies, and you must be an employee to eat there.
The growth of the tech industry in Silicon Valley should be a good thing, especially since it helps invigorate the startup attitude of other tech-minded individuals. But, all of this added activity is driving up the cost of living and the cost of commercial space to the point that those who already had businesses, mainly restaurants, can’t keep up. As they are closing down, new tech startups are either taking over, or fast food chains with plenty of revenue from other locations are moving in.
At this point, it’s difficult to survive unless you survive on fast food or on $500 meals, available for corporate dinner outings, no doubt.
Citizens and local small business owners are struggling, and many are shutting down and moving out of town, but prices in surrounding areas like Cupertino and San Jose are seeing steep rises in cost of living as well. The average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in these areas easily runs from $2,500 a month to $2,800 a month, which equals rent in New York City.
According to Palo Alto's planning department, lease space in the city is up over 60% from 2012, at $7.33 per square foot, reports The Seattle Times. These conditions are hardly conducive to running successful restaurants or other small businesses. One restaurant backer said, “I’m supportive of the start-up community, but not at the expense of the community.”
I’d have to agree. What a shame.