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Business Wed Jul 25 2012
• Food trucks must not be parked within 200 feet of "brick and mortar" restaurants (which sounds next to impossible in the Loop) or only in areas designated by the city.
• Food truck owners will be fined anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 for parking too close to a "brick and mortar" restaurant.
• Food trucks will be required to install a GPS device to enable city monitoring.
• Food trucks cannot operate between 2-5am.
The lone victory of this ordinance is that food trucks will now be able to prepare food on board as opposed to selling premade items, even if the only place they can park nowadays will be a side street near O'Hare.
This ordinance will do more to end this industry than to help it, and most of the opposition to food trucks has been engineered by restaurant owners who are obviously bitter over the high cost of operating an established restaurant and the threat that a food truck parked outside its doors presents.
Public health concerns over food storage, preparation and increased garbage are just ways of distracting the issue: with the right standards for refrigeration and cooking, the odds of foodborne illness are not higher in an item I order from a truck versus ordering in a restaurant, and Chicago has more dumpsters than people. I've never had to look far to throw out a wrapper.
The goal of this legislation is to crush the competition, and if it passes (which is likely), you're going to see an industry die. You're going to see entrepreneurs lose their investments in a business that the City has forced into instability with high-end surveillance and unreasonable rules. It's enough to make me lose my appetite.