The Case for Food Truck Freedom in Chicago
Blog Introduction: In a city as big and bustling as Chicago, it’s no surprise that food trucks are a popular lunchtime option. After all, who has time to sit down for a leisurely meal when there’s so much to see and do? But have you ever noticed that food trucks seem to be clustered in certain areas of the city, with very few venturing out into the suburbs or other neighborhoods? There’s a reason for that—and it’s not because the food is any better downtown. The truth is, Chicago’s food truck laws are needlessly restrictive, preventing these businesses from serving the whole city. Here’s why that needs to change.
The current regulations dictating where food trucks can park in Chicago are needlessly restrictive and prevent these businesses from serving the whole city. For starters, food trucks are only allowed to park on private property with the owner’s permission. That means no parking in metered spaces or on residential streets—two places where there would be high demand for their services. Additionally, food trucks must stay at least 200 feet away from any school or hospital and are not allowed to operate downtown between 7am and 7pm.
These regulations make it difficult for food truck owners to find places to park and do business. As a result, many end up clustering in areas where they know they won’t get ticketed or towed. That might be downtown during weekday lunch hours or in busy neighborhoods on weekends. But it means that other parts of the city are being left out.
There are some who argue that these regulations are necessary to prevent traffic congestion and protect brick-and-mortar businesses from competition. But the evidence doesn’t bear that out. In cities like New York and Los Angeles, which have far less restrictive laws governing food trucks, there has been no increase in traffic problems or decline in business for restaurants. If anything, the opposite is true—allowing food trucks to operate freely has resulted in more foot traffic and business for local businesses, as people flock to areas where they know they can get a quick bite to eat.
It’s time for Chicago to join other major cities like New York and Los Angeles in adopting more permissive laws governing food trucks. There’s no evidence that doing so would cause traffic problems or hurt local businesses—if anything, it would likely lead to more foot traffic and business for restaurants and other retailers. So let’s give our hardworking food truck owners the freedom they need to serve the whole city!
Can food trucks park anywhere in Chicago? The new ordinance backed by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot allows food trucks and other mobile entrepreneurs to operate with more freedom on city streets. The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance Jan. 15 that doubles the time food trucks and mobile boutiques are able to park and serve customers.
How many food trucks are there in Chicago? And that’s what these Second City favorites bring every day. Below’s a list of over 170 food trucks Chicago, IL calls its very own.
Why are there no food trucks in Chicago? Because of regulations barring cooking on trucks and a provision banning food trucks from operating within 200 feet of any brick-and-mortar location serving food, Chicago watched the food truck revolution pass it by. Chicago made most its downtown a no-go zone for food trucks.
How much do food trucks make in Chicago?
|Annual Salary||Hourly Wage|