Foodservice Equipment Reports

Chicago Easing Up On Shared Kitchens Ops

An ordinance championed by outgoing Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and approved by the City Council’s License Committee would create a new licensing category for chefs who “time-share” commercial kitchens for catering businesses.

Chicago is currently home to three shared kitchens, which rent out space to cooks and caterers who can’t afford the cost of opening a brick-and-mortar site, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Currently, these kitchen operators are required to apply for a retail food license and pay the same two-year, $660 fee as restaurants.

The mayor’s ordinance will create a new category of business licenses for shared kitchen operators and food entrepreneurs and cut the license fee in half—to $330 over two years. A 90-day, $75 license will also be available for seasonal chefs and start-ups.

The new ordinance also eliminates the requirement that every shared kitchen user undergo a separate, on-site inspection which has led, in some cases, to weekly inspections. Instead, aspiring restaurant owners and caterers will be required to consult the Chicago Health Department about their menu.

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