Green light for Chicago food trucks

Matt Schnelle


Wednesday, July 25th was a big day for the food truckers of Chicago. It is official that food trucks are legally allowed to operate and prepare food in the truck. Prior to this ordinance  being passed, food trucks were only allowed to be used as a catering service with no cooking allowed in the truck. With this ordinance comes a 200ft rule that a food truck is not able to be parked and operate within 200ft of any restaurant. 

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The 200ft rule was placed in order to protect the current restaurants that are brick and mortar. This will be hard for a food trucker in a lot of places because there are restaurants everywhere in Chicago. From a restaurant owner's perspective, this rule is very beneficial because food trucks will not be allowed to park right outside their building driving away business. 

My previous experience with food trucks in Denver have always been great. Fresh food cooked right in front of you, cash only, and niche food. To have a successful food truck operation you must offer great food that is unique. Whether it is a unique flavor, type of cuisine, the smell, or just a great re-concept of an existing idea. I am really excited to see more of these in operation. This is great news for Chicago entrepreneurs. We should see a rapid growth in the presence of food trucks in the upcoming months. I am looking forward to see new startups along with the existing trucks. All this talk about food trucks makes me hungry!

Like to hear your thoughts about food trucks. Do you agree with the new ordinance? Do you want to talk more about investing in my food truck venture? Share your opinion

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Amy Le
The newly passed food truck ordinance is not a green light a green light for Chicago food trucks, it is a red light. I am not happy with the Chicago food truck ordinance as it was passed on Wed. July 25. While it will be great that I can now put salsa on my bao tacos or even cook on board, what good does cooking do for me if I don't have anywhere to park and sell my food. The 200 foot buffer from restaurant prohibits us from being able to reach customers in high-foot traffic areas like the Downtown Loop and to compete fairly in the market. We struggle to legally park now in the Loop. You will not see more food trucks with this ordinance, you will see less as more close down. I'm all about competition, but I want fair competition and this ordinance will put trucks out of business not because their food or customer service was bad, but because of antiquated parking restrictions. Innovation is fueled by competition. How can anyone support regulations that stifles entrepreneurship and creates jobs. The food truck community here in Chicago is freaking amazing. I akin our group to an island of misfit toys. Our journey to becoming food truck owners is as diverse as our personalities. I came from the tech start-up space, and it was here in Chicago that I got the privilege to see how small start-ups worked together to build a thriving tech scene. I wanted to do the same for the food trucks here, so 3 months ago, I along with several other people started the IL. Food Truck Association. We want to help shape this industry from its infantile state to a mature, thriving industry that will continue for another 20 years. But we can not do this when our local government prohibits one industry from succeeding in order to protect another from failing. Just imagine if city council made it this hard for Red Box to enter the market in order to protect Block Buster.
Matt Schnelle
Thank you for the post. You made some valid points. I would really enjoy going to a space where it is a 'Food Truck Court'. There are many unused lots around the city that could be put to good use. There will always be restrictions that force us to adapt or make a change in the restrictions. As entrepreneurs we must keep our business model dynamic and polish our business strategies in times of conflict. I only wish the best to your IL Food Truck Association! When is the next Chicago Food Truck Festival

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