Did you know that Chicago is the only city in the top 50 metropolitan cities that does not allow cooking on food trucks?
That may change soon, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. This means more variety in food choices, and perhaps even more opportunities to stop working for the man and break out on your own.
The plan, which is still being discussed, will not simply lift the ban on food trucks that cook food on site. Because this is Chicago, there's going to be a litany of rules, regulations, and permits to deal with.
For one, no food truck is allowed within 200 feet of an established eatery. The city doesn't want trucks competing with brick and mortar restaurants. The restriction doesn't apply between midnight and 5 a.m., so catering to drunk folk craving Korean burritos, even in areas near restaurants, is still possible. There will also be "zones" that are exempt from the 200 foot buffer that fit two trucks apiece.
Other regulations include limits on how many trucks can be licensed at one time, health restrictions and inspections, two-hour time limits for parking in one location, and a $1,000 fee for a license.
Did we mention a big brother GPS device that monitors your activities to ensure that you comply with the geographic restrictions and time limits?
Still, even with all of the overbearing regulations, this could be an opportunity for the right entrepreneurs. In the other 49 major metropolitan areas, food trucks have exploded, (not literally, we hope) and have created jobs in an otherwise slow-growth sector in a dismal economy.
Since Mayor Rahm Emmanual, the city council, and local aldermen are still discussing the ordinance, expect some changes and possibly some more asinine regulations.
- Speak to an Employment Attorney in Chicago (FindLaw)
- Chicago to consider allowing food prep to-order on trucks (FOX Chicago)
- Do Cities Need Better Food Truck Laws? (FindLaw's Free Enterprise Blog)
- How to Sell at Farmers' Markets (FindLaw's Free Enterprise Blog)