The City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection reported today that, since applications started to be accepted on August 1, 34 new applications for mobile food vehicles have been initiated. This includes 27 seeking the mobile food preparer license, which allows cooking on the vehicle, plus applications for seven mobile food dispensers which allows vendors who sell pre-packaged and pre-cooked foods to offer a final preparation of the food prior to service to a customer.
“This surge in initial interest is proof positive that our strategy is working – we have created a workable ordinance that is allowing the food truck industry to grow in Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The food service industry, whether on trucks or in restaurants, creates crucial jobs and economic opportunity throughout our city’s neighborhoods, and will be a vibrant part of Chicago’s economy in the coming years.”
Today, the city has about 127 licensed mobile food dispensers. One of the reasons for the new policy was to kick-start the industry’s growth, and the flurry of interest indicates that this policy will have the desired effect.
The application for the mobile food license has technical & inspectional requirements for issuance. In addition, vehicles that carry propane or natural gas will require a permit from the fire department. Most of the individuals who have initiated a license application are in the fact-finding phase of their business plan and will be advancing their efforts in the coming months.
The fact that seven of the 34 newly initiated applications are for the mobile food dispenser license is significant; this indicates that there is interest in joining the food truck industry broadly, not just for the ability to cook on board. The ability to cook on board was just one of the positive developments for the food truck industry in the recent ordinance.
“Our new food truck ordinance allows food trucks to capitalize on new opportunities, including dedicated spots on the public way, longer hours of operation, and the ability to cook on board,” said Commissioner of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Rosemary Krimbel. “We are delighted to see new interest in joining the food truck industry and are looking forward to working with our existing mobile food dispensers to expand their economic opportunity and advance Chicago as a culinary destination.”
The new food truck ordinance was struck as a collaboration between the mobile food operators and the restaurant industry after a series of working sessions and extensive collaboration. None of the existing mobile food dispensers have initiated the application process to upgrade from a mobile food dispenser license to a mobile food preparer license. The City expects many of the existing mobile food dispensers to ultimately apply for this new license, which will be another very positive step forward for this industry.
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