City: Taste of Chicago Makes First Profit Since 2007

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    NEWSLETTERS

    For the first time in six years, the Taste of Chicago turned a profit for the city, officials said.

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events announced Sunday that the revitalized festival was profitable for the first time since 2007, generating $272,000 in profit.

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    Officials estimated this year’s fest, which featured 65 city restaurants, generated $106 million in total business activity to the Chicago economy and more than $2.35 million in tax receipts for the city, according to a press release from the mayor’s office.

    Last year, officials reported the Taste of Chicago suffered a $1.3 million loss, but this year’s profit reversed the festival’s “downward trend” even after some officials speculated it would never turn a profit again.

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    This year’s success was attributed to the musical acts, the addition of pop-up restaurants, and adding food trucks to the evening concerts, the release said.

    "We revamped the Taste to bring new food options, including food trucks and internationally-renowned chefs and music from chart-topping acts to attract people from all over the world to our city," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "I am pleased to see that the Taste is proving to be popular, with higher attendance this year and its first profit since 2007.”

    The mayor has been cooking up changes to the festival since his 2011 election, condensing the event from 10 days to five days and selling $25 tickets for the Petrillo Music Shell.

    "This year at the Taste we brought exciting new options together with timeless favorites and the result was an outstanding five day festival," Michelle Boone, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, said in a statement. "We'll continue to work to have Taste drive tourism and strengthen our economy and provide residents and visitors an annual opportunity to enjoy our fantastic culinary scene."

    Some also said the event attracted several tourists, which contributed to the increase in profits.

    "The economic impact comes, in large part, from visitors traveling to Chicago to attend Taste," Scott Ranssi, Chief Operating Officer of Custom Intercept Solutions, said in a statement.

    Ranssi said approximately 59 percent of the event attendees were from outside of Chicago.

    Next year’s taste is already being planned as the city looks to build on this year’s success. The 2014 Taste of Chicago is scheduled for July 9-13 in Chicago's Grant Park.