GOAL OF THE CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT CONCESSION PROGRAM
The goal of the concessions program is to provide the highest possible quality and variety of foods, commodities and services that will enhance the use of the parks and provide comfort and convenience to patrons at reasonable prices while assuring reasonable revenue to the Park District, and consistency of the concessions with current and future Park District plans for recreation, operations and other activities on Park District property.” (Code of the Chicago Park District, Chapter IX)
There are approximately 200 Concessionaires throughout the Chicago Park District (“Park District”), and these concessionaires vary by their location, type of operation, and what they offer. The Concessionaires can be classified as either food and beverage, retail, or services. The food and beverage Concessionaires include: a white table cloth, fine dining restaurant; casual dining restaurants; cafes; grab-n-go operators; and mobile food operators. There are some food Concessionaires that cook on site and others that don’t cook on site – they prepare their food off site or sell pre-packaged goods, or make smoothies on site. The type of cuisine offered by the Concessionaires’ ranges from hot dogs to ethnic cuisine. The service Concessionaires are equally varied and these Concessionaires include: (i) bike rental and maintenance services, (ii) dog washing services, (iii) massage services, (iv) rental of beach chairs and umbrellas, (v) rental of jet skis, (vi) rental of kayaks, (vii) rental of stand-up paddle boards, (viii) ATM’s, and (ix) a news stand. Lastly, some of the Concessionaires operate out of existing Park District facilities and pay for their capital improvements; others pay for their own concession facility (e.g. trailer, kiosk, cart) that they install and remove at the end of each concessionseason.
The concession season generally runs from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day, and there are Concessionaires that open before Memorial Day and close their operation after Labor Day. Additionally, the operating schedule for concessions can vary as well based factors including the location and weather, but the concessions are expected to be open as often as possible, Monday through Sunday during park hours which are 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Please see the FAQs for more detail about the concession program.
PARK CONCESSION MANAGEMENT
UCG Associates (“UCG”) is the concession manager for the Park District, and they manage the day to day operations of the concession program for the Park District. UCG advertises the Notice of Availability, reviews the applications submitted and makes recommendations of award, negotiates the Concession Permit Agreements, guides Concessionaires with concession season start up and take down, and during the concession season is the main contact with the Concessionaires regarding any matter they have. NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY This annual Notice of Availability is the document used to announce available Park District concession opportunities, and most of the Park District’s concession opportunities are awarded through the annual
Notice of Availability
However, it is possible that additional Notices of Availability could be advertised at any time for individual concession opportunities. Furthermore, applicants may submit proposals year round for any open and/or new locations.
FOCUS COMMUNITY AREA PROGRAM
The Park District will begin a pilot program in 2021 that aims to stimulate business activity, and provide amenities in selected parks located in the central/west and south regions of the city. In qualified parks, some fees and costs have been eliminated and/or reduced in an effort to open the opportunity to operate a business in these parks to more persons. Please refer to Frequently Asked Questions #4, on page 6, for more information on reduced fees in this pilot program. For a list of qualified parks please refer to page 23 of this application document.
GOOD FOOD PURCHASING PROGRAM
Introduction The Park District prioritizes Good Food practices within its direct food service programs including in the concession program. Incorporating Good Food practices into the concession program will make Good Food more widely available, promote healthier eating habits, support local economies, and create more well-paying jobs along the food supply chain in line with the Good Food Purchasing Program and its guiding document, the Good Food Purchasing Standards (“Standards”). The Standards emphasize five values:
- Local Economies
- Environmental Sustainability
- Valued Workforce
- Animal Welfare
Details regarding the Standards are available among the Reference Documents contained in this application, and they are subject to change.
2021 Good Food Program
The Park District began a program in 2017 to incorporate Good Food practices into the concession program, and this program is continuing for the concession season. During the concession season, the Park District will be conducting an implementation of the Standards with those Concessionaires who choose to volunteer to incorporate them into their operation. This will allow us to gather information in order to make an informed decision regarding deploying the Standards to all Concessionaires in the future. The program involves individual Concessionaires tracking their food purchases which will allow us to observe the successes and challenges of the Standards in small business and/or seasonal operations, as well as set a baseline for minimum purchases in each Good Food Purchasing category for the future.
If you are interested in participating in the 2021 Good Food program please indicate your interest in the appropriate section in this application. Participation in the Good Food program is not required nor will the applications of those who indicate a willingness to participate in this program be given additional consideration
To implement and monitor the program, the Park District and UCG will be supported by the Chicago Food Policy Action Council and the Center for Good Food Purchasing.
The Park District is a recreation agency and a conservation organization. In our parks, single use plastic products cause litter and can wind up in Lake Michigan, impacting our largest source of freshwater. These single-use plastics can’t be recycled, and once they’re in the environment, they never disappear. As such, we are taking steps to reduce and remove these products.
Single use plastics products include, but are not limited to, plastic bags, straws, cups, plates, clamshells and other like containers, and flatware (i.e. forks, spoons, knives).
Single use plastic products are not allowed.
Polystyrene (“Styrofoam”) products are not allowed.
Instead, concessionaires may use reusable, paper, metal, glass, biodegradable, compostable, or plant based products.
While we understand concessions are required to use Coca Cola products in plastic bottles, use of reusable, paper, metal, glass, biodegradable, compostable, or plant based containers are preferred when available.
What follows are some of the most frequently asked questions relating to the Park District Concession Program (“Program”). These answers do not complete the scope of requirements for the Program, nor do they replace or take precedent over the operating requirements outlined in this Notice of Availability package.
1. What if I would like to operate a concession from a location that is not included in the list of available locations for 2021? Or, what if I have an idea for a location included in the list of available locations for 2021 that’s not identified as the designated use for the location?
ANSWER: UCG and the Park District are open to considering any idea. Accordingly, complete and submit the application enclosed in this Notice of Availability package (see p. 2 for instructions regarding how to submit an application). Note, submitting an application does not guarantee that the applicant will be recommended for award and does not grant you authorization to operate a concession on Park District property.
2. Can I submit my application for more than one location?
ANSWER: Yes, you can submit your application for more than one location. The first query in the “Proposed Operations” section of the application asks you to identify the parks where you propose to operate in your order of preference. Note, identifying more than one location doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be recommended for award for any of the locations you’re interested in operating and does not grant you authorization to operate a concession on Park District property.
3. What if I don’t-have a specific park in mind for my proposed concession operation?
ANSWER: Submit your application, and for the first query in the “Proposed Operations” section of the application, instead of indicating a specific park or parks where you would like to operate your concession, indicate the area or areas of the city where you would like to operate your concession. Note, submitting an application does not guarantee that the applicant will be recommended for award and does not grant you authorization to operate a concession on Park.
District property.What are the fees and costs to operate a concession?
ANSWER: Any fee amount is an estimate, and at a minimum, you will pay for:
- Base Rent Fee
The annual fee paid by the Concessionaire to the Park District. This fee will vary by location and type of concession operation. Operators in Focus Community Area Parks will be assigned a base fee that is 50% less than a standard base for their location.
- Revenue Share Percentage Fee
In some cases, a percentage of sales may be charged annually either instead of or in addition to the Base Rent Fee
- Business License Fee
At a minimum, $150.00 ($100.00 for non-food concessions) paid annually, and it can increase by location. This fee is eliminated for operators in Focus Community Area Parks.
- Performance Deposit Fee
$400.00 Security deposit for applicants awarded a location for the first time and first year only. This fee is eliminated in Focus Community Area parks.
- Food Sanitation Inspection
$75.00 to $150.00 depending on the type and size of the concession location.
- Utility Fee
Will range is most cases from $50-$800 depending on the amount of waste disposal, water, and electricity consumed by an operator at their location. This fee is eliminated in Focus Community Area parks.
Minimum liability policy limit shall be, but not limited to, $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 in the aggregate. You will be required to name the Chicago Park District and UCG Associates as additional insured on a primary and non- contributory basis. (Note: It is recommended to shop around; many companies quote a minimum rate of approximately $750.00 for an annual policy). You are responsible for maintaining and keeping the insurance current.
- Registration fees for a Foodservice Sanitation Class
- Re-Key Fee
There is a $150.00 fee for a new Concessionaire operating at a permanent location to re-key the locks to the concession facility.
- Operating Expenses
The Concessionaire is responsible for paying all of its operating expenses including, but not limited to, (i) all season start up and take down costs such as the purchase, delivery and installation of the concession facility (e.g. cart, trailer, or kiosk), (ii) cost of goods sold (iii) general maintenance and repairs to the concession facility, (iv) signage, (v) any landscaping, (vi) costs associated with employees (e.g. wages, benefits, uniforms), (vii) custodial, (viii) FF&E (furniture, fixtures & equipment), (ix) utilities (e.g. power, water, sewer, garbage pickup and recycling), (x) all costs associated with deliveries to the concession facility, (xi) all taxes, (xii) getting and maintaining all licenses, permits, and certifications necessary to operate the concession, and (xiii) parking.
5. What’s the concession season and operating schedule for a concession?
ANSWER: Generally, the Park District concession season is the Friday before Memorial Day to Labor Day, and at a minimum, the Concessionaire must operate during this period. Further, the Concessionaire can operate for a longer period of time with the approval of UCG. The guideline regarding operating the concession is Monday – Sunday during park hours, 6:00 a.m. to – 11:00 p.m., with the Concessionaire deciding when to operate during those hours. Operating hours are to be determined in advance and approved by UCG and posted publicly at the facility.
6. When can I start purchasing the furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) and anything else that I need for my concession?
ANSWER: Remember that submitting your application does not guarantee that you will be recommended for award. Also, submitting your application does not grant you authorization to operate a concession on Park District property. Accordingly, we strongly urge applicants NOT to spend any money relating to the Concession Program until you have been officially notified that you have been recommended for award and execute a Concession Permit Agreement. If you do not already own a concession unit, you may want to begin your search in order to know where to get one and
how much it will cost you. However, any money spent before notification you’ve been recommended for award and execute a Concession Permit Agreement will be at your own risk.
7. What if I execute a Concession Permit Agreement, start my preparation to get ready by the opening date of the 2021 concession season, and at some point during that process begin to encounter delays that might impact my ability to be open by the first day of the 2021 concession season?
ANSWER: UCG will work with the Concessionaires to get ready and be open on the first day of the 2021 concession season. If it’s clear you won’t be ready for the opening day of the 2021 concession season, then UCG will work with you to see if you can have a temporary/scaled down presence, to whatever degree, as of the opening day of 2021 concession season at your location until your full operation is ready. If you cannot have a temporary/scaled downpresence for the opening day of the 2021 concession season, you must continue to work to have your concession ready and open as soon as possible. Note, your obligations in your Concession Permit Agreement, including paying any fees to the Park District, survive any delay.
8. If my concession involves the sale of food and beverages, what are the health and sanitation requirements?
ANSWER: The Concessionaire must take all steps to ensure that all food and beverages are stored, prepared, and sold in compliance with all applicable food, food safety, and any other applicable law(s). Further, each concession must have at least two (2) persons certified with the City of Chicago Department of Health as a Food Service Manager, and must have available for review a copy of the Food Service Manager Certificate. Cost of certification classes and certification itself are the responsibility of the Concessionaire. The City Colleges of Chicago, the Illinois Restaurant Association, and the Bio Test Lab Office offers these classes. UCG may also be familiar with and willing to recommend private companies that offer this Food Services Sanitation Course. Additionally, all concessions must also pass a health inspection conducted by UCG. The Park District may conduct health inspections during the season and the concession must also pass these inspections. Concessions with a liquor license may be subject to City of Chicago Department of Health inspections.9. What licenses, certifications, and permits are required to operate a concession?
9. What licenses, certifications, and permits are required to operate a concession?
ANSWER: First, to operate a concession in the Park District, the Concessionaire must have a Concession Permit Agreement with the Park District and display the assigned decal in a prominent location viewable by the public. Additionally, the Concessionaire must pay for and have all local, state, and federal licenses, certifications, and permits required to operate their concession. Next, if the Concessionaire is going to undertake any capital improvement, then
the Concessionaire must obtain a Park District Access Permit and any other required permit prior to beginning the work. If your concession involves the sale of food and/or beverages please see question 8 for additional information. Lastly the Concessionaire is responsible for keeping all licenses, permits and certifications current. A City of Chicago Peddler’s License DOES NOT allow you to operate in the parks; you must sign a Concession Permit Agreement with the
10. Am I responsible for maintenance and repairs to my concession facility?
ANSWER: Yes, Concessionaires are responsible for general maintenance and repairs to their concession facility and paying all associated costs and fees. Concessionaires will keep their concession facility, appurtenances, FF&E, and the area around their concession facility in a sanitary and safe condition and in good working order at all times. The Concessionaire’s general maintenance and repair responsibilities include, but are not limited to: all FF&E; roof; ceilings; interior and exterior walls; entrances; signs; interior decorations; floor and floor coverings; security system, if applicable; wall coverings; exterior and interior doors (including overhead doors and window coverings); keys and locks; plumbing fixtures; hot water heaters; light fixtures and bulbs; fire extinguishers and fire protection systems; HVAC; water and sewer lines including the sewer lines exclusively serving the concession facility and equipment including meters and switches; and electrical, gas, sprinkler systems, and equipment which serve the concession facility
exclusively whether located inside or outside the concession facility. Lastly, the general maintenance and repair responsibilities may vary according to the type of concession facility.
Base fee modifications and/or longer-term agreements could be awarded to Concessionaires taking on significant building repairs or capital projects.
Any repairs to be performed by the Concessionaire will be reviewed and approved by UCG prior to beginning the work. Further, the Concessionaire may reimburse the Park District for any costs incurred regarding general maintenance or repair work.
11. Am I responsible for custodial services at my concession facility?
ANSWER: Yes, Concessionaires are responsible for custodial services and their concession facility and paying all associated costs and fees. Concessionaires will keep their concession facility (interior and exterior), appurtenances, FF&E, and the area around their concession facility in a clean, sanitary, and inviting condition at all times. Custodial responsibilities include, but are not limited to: cleanliness, including power washing; garbage collection hauling, and
recycling: graffiti removal; pest control; restrooms, if applicable, including supplying paper products and soap; window and glass cleaning, if applicable; and any landscaping. The exact boundaries of the Concessionaire custodial responsibilities will be determined during negotiations of the Concession Permit Agreement.
12. Can I undertake capital improvements?
ANSWER: The Concessionaire cannot begin any capital improvement work without the prior approval of the Park District and the Park District issuing an Access Permit for the work. As part of its review of the capital improvement(s) request, the Park District will need to see full and complete details (e.g. description of the capital improvement,
drawings, etc.) of the capital improvement(s) before they give their approval. Additionally, the Concessionaire is responsible for getting any and all permits that may be required. Lastly, the Concessionaire is responsible for all costs, direct and indirect, associated with the capital improvement(s).
13. Where can I get a cart, trailer, or kiosk?
ANSWER: You are responsible for finding and securing your own concession cart, trailer or kiosk which meets the design guidelines of the Park District, and UCG is available to guide you through the process of procuring this concession facility. UCG will request a sample photo or drawing of your proposed concession facility. Please note that the concession cart, trailer or kiosk must be approved by the Park District.
14. Does the Park District have any agreements that may impact my concession?
ANSWER: The Park District has sponsorship agreements with other parties for the exclusive use of products and purchasing guidelines of these products. All Concessionaires, where applicable, will be required to make their purchases directly from these sponsors. Currently, the Park District has sponsorship agreements for all nonalcoholic beverages, hot dogs and ice cream. In addition to the products, these agreements can also require use of the sponsor’s equipment and display/signage. The Park District reserves the right to enter into additional sponsorship agreements at any time. If the applicant is recommended for an award, then the details of all official sponsorship agreements shall be provided during the negotiation of your Concession Permit Agreement and may be added/changed at any time. As noted in the Concession Permit Agreement, the sale of products that compete with or are in conflict with the official Park District sponsors products, will not be allowed and can result in termination of Concession Permit Agreement.
15. To what extent am I required to use environmentally sustainable operations and methods?
ANSWER: The Park District is committed to being a good steward of the environment, and within its own operations they employ green practices and operations from energy efficiency to green cleaning products. In addition to the SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTS section above (page 3), all Concessionaires are operating in parks and along the lakefront and are expected to do their best not to negatively impact the area where they are operating and use sustainable methods in the concession operation. This may be through litter and waste control and recycling of materials such as glass, metal, paper or plastic. It also means using products that are not harmful to the
environment such as paper or plastic products with recycled content, green cleaning supplies, locally sourced food, or reducing emissions from generators or vehicles. Note that polystyrene is not allowed. Further note that recycling is required.