Will Less Strict Food Truck Legislation Pass in Chicago?

Chicago's Food Truck The Happy Lobster Truck | YELP

Chicago's Food Truck The Happy Lobster Truck | YELP

Chicago’s regulations for mobile restaurants has been a major headache for food truck operators in the city.

So much so that this has influenced new legislation.

Alderman Proco Joe Moreno (1st) has proposed that Chicago food trucks be able to remain in one location for up to six hours. The current limit is only two.

This was introduced after food truck owners lost in court when they attempted to overturn the strict food truck ordinance.

Moreno argues that the two-hour rule does not take into account that it takes 40 minutes to set up and 40 minutes to take down. The rule makes it especially difficult for Chicago food trucks to survive in the city. He also said the six-hour limit is negotiable.

The New Proposed Rule Has Support From Large Organizations

The Illinois Restaurant Association is backing the new legislative solution.

“The hours should be raised. Two hours is definitely too short of a time, too quick of a turnover time. Restauranteurs understand that you’ve got to set up and break down any time you’re opening and closing a restaurant or food truck,” said Sam Toia, Illinois Restaurant Association president and former owner of Leona’s Restaurants. “Chicago is the culinary capital of the United States and food trucks are part of our great culinary scene here. We have to figure out how we can work to help them stay longer in the designated zones.”

However, Toia said the operators need to determine what the right limit should be.

“I want to make sure that all the food trucks feel that it should be six hours. Should it be four? Should it be six? I’m not sure yet. I want to communicate with everybody and make sure that everyone in the food truck community feels comfortable with the [new] hours being proposed. We’ll definitely get to the table and work something out with everybody,” said Toia.

Toia also believes that the restriction stating that the food trucks stay 200-feet away from brick-and-mortar restaurants should remain.

The two-hour rule was put in place back in 2012, but the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection rarely cites any ordinance violations. Many food truck owners have said they have violated the current rule in order to stay in business.

The Illinois Food Truck Owners Association called the proposed six-hour rule a “positive first step towards treating food truck owners properly instead of as second-class citizens.”

What do you think about the two-hour rule? Is it completely unfair? What should the hour limit be then? Read more