City Council Approves Ordinance to Lower Food Cart License Fees

More lunch time menu options could soon be rolling by your office.

Chicago’s City Council approved an ordinance Wednesday lowering license fees required for vendors to legally operate mobile food carts. 

The two year license fee currently costs $350, but will be lowered to $100 effective July 1st. License fees for seniors, veterans and vendors with disabilities will also be reduced to $50. 

“I am proud that the city provides them legitimate business status and now at an affordable price,” said 26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado. 

The ordinance also eliminates a $330 shared kitchen user fee when licensees have a valid mobile food vendor license, according to a city press release. 

The city council legalized mobile food vendors in 2015. Illinois Policy Institute researchers determined as many as 1,500 food cart vendors were operating in the city at that time. But a year later, only five businesses had received licenses to legally prepare and sell their food on city sidewalks. 

Supporters expect more vendors to apply for their licenses now that the city has decreased the fees. 

“We believe this is a step in the right direction in making it more affordable for these vendors to be able to live out their dreams and to own a business in the city of Chicago,” said Chris Lentino of Illinois Policy Institute. 

Illinois Policy Institute estimates licensed vendors will create thousands of jobs and add more than $8 million in local tax revenue.

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