Is the Chicago Food Truck Ordinance a Blessing or a Curse?

May 22, 2013 No Comments by

Ever since city officials began debating whether or not to extend the allowance for food trucks in Chicago, the public has been doing exactly the same thing. The trouble is, even at this late stage of the year there is still no concrete answer as to whether or not the move is a positive one, as points of view vary massively depending on personal standpoints and involvement in the industry – or lack therefore.

As such, the only way to look at the subject with any degree of fairness is to include all sides of the argument, including the pros and cons for both.

Local Businesses

Pros – For the local businesses of Chicago, the provision of more food trucks on city streets has the very real potential to draw more people out of their homes and more tourists into the city to see what’s on offer. In turn, this adds up to a massive increase in everyday foot traffic which can then be converted to additional income and profit for local businesses in the area. The pull of the food truck is known to be huge and continues to grow, therefore in terms of benefiting local businesses and the economy, the ordinance seems a positive one.

Cons – On the downside however, there is the not-so-small issue of those local businesses that happen to be restaurants – many of which may already be struggling to make ends meet. The introduction of readily available alternatives on various street corners at all hours of the day will inherently drive business away from local restaurants and eateries, given the way in which food trucks are largely on an entirely lower price scale.


Pros – The benefits to the resident of Chicago in terms of the food truck ordinance are as clear as they are abundant. First and foremost, the opportunity for caterers to bring a world of new flavors and experiences to the city streets is huge, while those favoring low-cost eating options over restaurants will effectively have more opportunities to eat out than ever before. The convenience of food trucks being readily available across the city also speaks for itself, as does their general early morning to late-night hours of operation.

Cons – On the downside, food trucks have in some circles been accused of promoting poor eating habits and the over consumption of unhealthy convenience food. In addition, food trucks are known to create quite their share of noise and air pollution – both of which are likely to increase many times over should food trucks continue appearing on every street corner. Those who find themselves living or working in close proximity to a food truck on a street outside are unlikely to speak favorably of the sounds and smells that become a part of their daily life.

Taking into account all of the above it is difficult to reach a final conclusion, as there are both clear benefits and downsides to the Chicago food truck ordinance. Nevertheless, it would appear that the food truck movement is one likely to go on for some time to come; therefore it may be wiser to look for ways to compromise, rather than decide who is right and who is wrong.

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About the author

I was born and raised in Melrose Park by wonderful, hard-working parents who made sure there was plenty of great Italian food on the table. I attended Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Grade School, Proviso East High School and Triton College, and I've worked as a paper boy, car salesman, police officer and website entrepreneur. Visit me at my Google+ Page