Letter from the Mayor

Dear Entrepreneur,

 Chicago is a world-class city with a rich and diverse array of restaurants, cafés, and bakeries.  The city’s restaurants are also a leading job creator, responsible for nearly 10 percent of the jobs in Chicago.  Over 60 new restaurants are started monthly, and each one adds to the diversity, vitality, and vibrancy of the city’s neighborhoods.  I am pleased that you are applying to become part of Chicago’s fast-growing restaurant community. 

When I became Mayor, I pledged to make government more effective by delivering better services for less.  Since taking office, I have heard from many restaurant owners about the maze of red tape they have to navigate in order to get started and growing.  Too many restaurant owners believe that City Hall is an obstacle in growing their businesses and creating jobs.  I am proud to introduce a new Restaurant Start-up Program that will simplify and streamline the process for getting a restaurant started in the city.

This new program will reduce start-up times and simplify the inspections process in several ways.  First, the program will cut down on wasted trips to City Hall by eliminating unnecessary reviews and steps in the applications process.  Second, it reduces time spent waiting for individual inspectors by sending inspectors out in teams.  Third, it makes City Hall more of a partner in the inspections process by providing you with better information on what to expect during your first inspections and offering you a pre-inspection consultation to make sure you are ready to pass.  And finally, the program provides you more information on what will be required of you every step of the way, including this comprehensive guide on starting a restaurant.

As a lifeIong Chicagoan, I firmly believe that our city is the best place in the world to start and grow a business.   One of my top priorities as Mayor is to make sure that City Hall never stands in the way of entrepreneurship and innovation.  The Restaurant Start-up Program will ensure that the city acts as a partner in helping you start your restaurant and grow your business.



Mayor Rahm Emanuel

 Additional Information


Guides and Forms

Business Plan

Intro to Licensing


Site Selector

Get your Tax ID


Give Us Feedback

Main Office

Business Center