Mayor Rahm Emanuel sure does have a taste for making money.
This year, Emanuel continues his strategy to turn a profit from July's famously artery-clogging foodie fest, Taste of Chicago, with premium price tags for choice concert seats and gourmet meals by top Chicago chefs like Art Smith and Paul Virant.
The Taste runs July 9-13 and, as always, admission is free. Meanwhile, those who want to sample Smith's cuisine or see Janelle Monae perform from the front row will be charged fees of $45 and $50, respectively. Those tickets are now up for purchase via TicketWeb, re-hired by the city to handle ticket-selling operations; the company will rake in $3 per ticket sold to the Taste's five concerts at the Petrillo Music Shell and "Chef Du Jour" meals in addition to a 2.5 percent credit card fee, the Chicago Tribune reports.
TicketWeb collected $51,539 after first partnering with the city last year. In 2012, Groupon made nearly $17,000 through administering sales on its platform and receiving $2 per ticket sold.
The Taste profited slightly in 2013 following its $1.3 million loss the previous year when Emanuel introduced a charge on concert tickets, according to the Trib.
Earlier this year, Emanuel snagged City Council approval for a proposal to make concertgoers pay for the Petrillo's 3,000 lawn chairs as well as the "premium" seats close to the action. That cover charge is being held for the time being.
"The ordinance in February simply gave us that authority and was intended to give the Taste more flexibility to meet consumer demand at various price levels," said Mary May, who reps the city's cultural affairs department.
Since taking office in 2011, Emanuel has made it a mission to capitalize on Chicago's reputation as a foodie destination as part of an effort to attract more tourists here. He announced last week that the James Beard Foundation Awards, the so-called Oscars of the culinary world, will be moving from New York City to the Second City, with the prestige-soaked ceremony being held at the Lyric Opera on May 4, 2015.