Restaurant-owning Alderman Demands Limits on Mobile Food Truck Proposal

CHICAGO, IL – Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), owner of Ann Sather’s Restaurants, demanded Wednesday that brick-and-mortar restaurants like his own be protected before Chicago legalizes mobile food trucks with cooking on the premises.

Tunney acknowledged that Mayor Rahm Emanuel campaigned on a promise to lift the ban and “wants to get the ball rolling” on legalizing mobile food trucks one year after Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) proposed the idea.

But, as the new chairman of the City Council’s Economic Development Committee that will consider the ordinance, Tunney said he is determined to forge a compromise that “protects brick-and-mortar restaurants” concerned about an unlevel playing field.

The ordinance that Waguespack re-introduced at last week’s City Council meeting would allow mobile food trucks to be located 200 feet away from a restaurant and 100 feet from any retail store that sells food.

Tunney refused to say how large the buffer should be.

He would only say, “One of the major issues is spacing from brick-and-mortar restaurants. We’ve got work to do. We need to hear from all sides. We need to make sure we protect … restaurants and foster a trend that, I think, is gonna be here for a while.”

Glenn Keefer, managing partner of Keefer’s Restaurant, argued that mobile food trucks with cooking on the premises should be required to “stay out of the Central Business District” altogether.

“It’s so densely populated with restaurants that have spent a fortune and are carrying the ball on paying for police, Streets and Sanitation, the Fire Department and McCormick Place,” Keefer said, referring to property taxes and the downtown restaurant tax.

“These guys are gonna come into our neighborhood for a $600 license? It’s completely unfair. Why would anybody want to take a chance and mortgage their house [to open a restaurant] when these guys are gonna be in the neighborhood selling out of the back of a truck for literally no investment?”


2011-06-16T09:05:50+00:00 By |Off the Wire|

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  1. Wren Jun 16, 2011 at 9:24 am

    It sounds so absurd that the primary protesters are probably the least affected. If I’m planning to eat at Keefer’s, a food truck won’t deter me.

    However, if I’m planning to eat somewhere like Pastoral, Brian’s Juice Bar, Uncle Abe’s or any other quick lunch place then a food truck does stand as competition.

    Why would anyone compare a fine dining restaurant to fast food? It’s like BMW protesting public transportation.

  2. tiffany Jun 17, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Please don’t hide behind the argument that it only takes $600 for a license…really? It takes a whole heck of a lot more money than that, not to mention the day to day is way more in depth than $600. Do you put $75 a DAY (1800 a month) in gas in your “restaurant” and before you say anything…yes we do pay “rent” the food and ingredients have to be prepared and stored somewhere, yes we do have to pay for the electricity at the kitchen, and yes we do have to pay taxes, and yes we do have to pay huge insurance fees for running a mobile food truck and yes, yes, yes we pay all you pay but it just may not be in the traditional way. This isn’t about the cost of “what you think it takes to run a mobile food business” Focus on your food quality and customer service at your restaurant and it won’t matter who parks in front of your restaurant! The beauty is this is America, if you think its so cheap and easy then you can go do it! Consumers have the right to choose what they want to eat, when they want to eat and where they want to eat, you don’t have the right to tell them they can’t! If its okay for Subway to go beside a Jimmy Johns then the same should apply to mobile food trucks 200ft is quite generous!

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