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Food & Drink

Bay Area Peruvian restaurant chain to pay back nearly $1 million to workers

Limón on Valencia Street is pictured, in San Francisco, on Friday, July 7, 2023. The Peruvian restaurant opened its first SF location in 2002. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

Popular Bay Area Peruvian restaurant chain Limón has agreed to pay hundreds of its local workers a total of nearly $1 million for failing to cover required health care costs under a new settlement with the city of San Francisco.

The city’s Health Care Security Ordinance, passed in 2006, requires employers with 20 or more workers and nonprofits with 50 or more to spend a minimum amount on health care for each employee who works eight or more hours per week. 

An investigation by the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement found that the companies did not make those payments for 231 of its current and former employees over a three-and-a-half-year period from April 2019 to September 2022.

“Our office will always stand up for workers and ensure San Francisco’s labor laws are aggressively enforced,” said City Attorney David Chiu in a statement.

Patrick Mulligan, director of the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, said the agreement “helps level the playing field” for workers.

The settlement, filed Tuesday, requires the operators of Limón Restaurant at 524 Valencia St., Limón Peruvian Rotisserie at 1001 S. Van Ness Ave. and the now-closed Limon Rotisserie at 5800 Third St. to pay more than $920,000 in restitution to its affected employees. The companies must also pay out just over $95,000 in administrative penalties to the city.

A lawyer for Limón, James A. Quadra, said the restaurant chain took steps to comply with the city law as soon as it was notified of the violation. He blamed a third party for providing incorrect advice about what benefits employees were entitled to.

“Limon intends to pursue its legal rights against this third party,” wrote Quadra in an email to The Standard. He said the chain would make payments to workers via the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement over several years.

Christina Campodonico can be reached at