BRIGHT SIDE: Thousands of guests attended Dreamforce 2023 at The Moscone Center in September. (Courtesy ASM Global)


In the face of media impressions that paint San Francisco as a place to be avoided, the Moscone Center is playing a key role in battling perceptions that the city is some kind of no-go zone.

The ASM Global-run convention center remains an economic magnet 42 years after it opened.

The since-expanded facility, with its ASM-owned Savor concessionaire, recently generated more than $20 million in food and beverage revenue in 30 days, a monthly record for the center, and total annual F&B revenue is expected to top $51, a post-pandemic high.

BETTER BY THE BAY: From mid-August until the Nov. 14-16 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit, the Moscone Center will have hosted 13 conferences, says General Manager Leonie Patrick.(ASM Global)

So, how’d they do more than $20 million in 30 days?

“That was due to the kind of conferences that were here in those 30 days,” said Leonie Patrick, general manager of the Moscone Center. “We had four corporate groups, which typically spend a little bit more on food and beverage. That started off with Google in late August, and then we went right into Dreamforce. Then we had a small group called Disrupt and then Workday Rising.

Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual event, was held Sept. 12-14 and drew around 40,000 guests.  The Google Cloud Next event took place Aug. 29-31. TechCrunch Disrupt was Sept. 19-21 and the month was capped off with Workday Rising, hosted annually by enterprise software company Workday, which reported its largest-ever attendance for its Sept. 26-29 conference.

“This most recent success in part demonstrates the positive impact from our new clean, safe and welcoming initiatives that make San Francisco the best place to hold a conference.,” Ken Bukowski, director of convention facilities for the City and County of San Francisco, which owns the Moscone Center, said in a news release.

Patrick, who came to the convention center from the San Francisco Travel Association where she was in charge of Convention sales, said the American Society of Anesthesiologists were at the center this month and medical-related events are a staple at the facility.

“Medical used to be about 40% of our business,” she said. “I think it might be a little less now, but we’re in a string of medical groups right now.”

The Cardiac Research Foundation holds its TCT (Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics) event at the center Oct. 26-29 and the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s annual meeting is booked for Nov. 2-6, Patrick said.

“We have those three large medical meetings and we also have a corporate meeting at Moscone West during that time,” she said. “From mid-August until APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit Nov. 14-16), we have 13 conferences. That’s a lot for a three-month time period.”

As for San Francisco taking hits in the media lately, Patrick said the Moscone Center is playing a leading role in changing hearts and minds through “the sheer number of attendees we bring in to the city.”

“We have a very involved director of convention facilities,” she said of Bukowski. “He has been very participatory in making sure that the street conditions that people experience as they’re walking to and from the center are as good as they possibly can be. It’s important to impress upon the people that are here that it’s not like you see in the media. It’s exaggerated and really isolated, the images you see in the media. It’s areas that most attendees don’t go. It’s incredibly important to impress upon them that it’s really a safe city and it’s a beautiful city to visit and we kind of do that by having this captive audience. We can change their perception and very often we do.”