Mayor Emanuel to Legalize Cook-On-Site Food Truck Industry Across Chicago
Mayor Will Introduce Ordinance Designed to Support and Expand Food Truck Operations Throughout City
CHICAGO – On Wednesday, Mayor Emanuel and Aldermen Tom Tunney, Joe Moreno, Scott Waguespack, Brendan Reilly, Emma Mitts, Michele Smith, and Walter Burnett will introduce an ordinance to expand food truck operations in neighborhoods across Chicago by allowing food truck operators to prepare “food to order” on board their trucks. Currently, food truck operators are only allowed to sell packaged food prepared in a commercial kitchen. The new law will further encourage this creative industry that spurs small business development and a diverse and vibrant cultural scene across the city.
“Chicago’s small businesses are the backbones of our communities and are a vital part of what make our city a thriving place to live, work and visit,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The food truck industry in Chicago has been held back by unnecessary restrictions, and my administration is committed to common-sense changes that will allow this industry to thrive, creating jobs and supporting a vibrant food culture across the city.”
The ordinance to be introduced was developed after months of conversations with restaurateurs, the food truck industry, and local aldermen. It is influenced by best practices from other major cities where smart and practical requirements for food trucks have allowed them to operate more freely than they have in Chicago, The ordinance protects traditional restaurants, maintains public health standards, and fosters this growing industry.
“I’m proud that we were able to bring so many stakeholders to the table to reach this compromise, to support this innovative industry right alongside our world-renown restaurants,” said Alderman Tom Tunney. “We’ll continue to work with our communities and all those involved to ensure a smooth implementation.”
The ordinance legalizes freer food truck operations while maintaining public health standards and includes:
- “Food to Order”: Food truck operators will be allowed to provide “food to order” for their customers, or fresh meals prepared directly on board a truck.
- “Food Truck Stands” Across the City: In addition to the legal parking spaces food trucks currently use, food trucks will now be allowed to park at designated Food Truck Stands across the city. These locations will be selected through an open and collaborative process in each ward by aldermen, the business community, and residents. Similar to a traditional loading zone, these dedicated locations will help food truck operators park safely, especially in high-congestion areas where parking is scarce.
- Around-the-Clock Operations: Food trucks may operate 24 hours-a-day, 7-days a week. Each food truck will be able to park at one food stand or other designated location for up to 2 hours.
- Regular Health Inspections and Trainings: Food trucks will be required to adhere to the highest health standards, as are traditional restaurants, and will undergo regular inspections through the Chicago Department of Public Health. And at least one employee with a food sanitation certificate, obtained after food sanitation training, must be present at the truck at all times to further ensure the health safety of their food.
“Our neighborhoods are full of a diverse assortment of food and restaurant options, from family-owned to fusion. Creating these sensible avenues for the food truck industry to develop right alongside of these excellent options will be a boon for our food culture and neighborhood business development,” said Alderman Moreno.
“Data on food truck locations will be available online to the public, as well. Food truck operators will be required to use mounted GPS devices in each truck so that the City and consumers may track their locations.”
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