San Francisco's Formula Retail Economy

Here in San Francisco, we’ve come together to put limits on corporate chains in order to protect the integrity of our city.

Under San Francisco law, chain stores are categorized as “formula retail” if they have 11 or more locations. This definition covers big box stores such as Target and Costco, fast food franchises like McDonald’s and Taco Bell, chain restaurants such as Applebee’s and TGI Fridays, and other corporate businesses.

When massive retailers come in, the impact on neighborhoods can be devastating. But thanks in part to our formula retail controls, we have a vibrant small business community in San Francisco, with as many independent bookstores per capita as New York City, about 80 local hardware stores and over 900 independent retailers.

The Retail Workers Bill of Rights will expand on our existing laws to better protect the employees of formula retailers.

Formula Retail by the Numbers

1,250 formula retail establishments are open for business in San Francisco, making up 12% of all retailers.

50% of all formula retailers doing business in San Francisco have parent companies with more than 1,000 locations.

More than 80% of all banks in San Francisco are formula retail establishments.

Approximately 47% of San Francisco’s retail workers and 18% of the city’s restaurant workers are employed at formula retailers.