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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most frequently asked questions regarding the Chicago Park District concession program.

There is an application enclosed in this Notice of Availability (NOA) packet, complete it and submit it to UCG Associates, 150 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 2930, Chicago, Illinois 60601. Before completing and signing the application, we encourage you to review the entire content of the packet. It contains a list of available locations and information on the sponsorship program. If you are selected to participate in the Chicago Park District’s Concession Program, you will be contacted to negotiate a “Concession Permit Agreement” for the season.

The cost for each location is different. There are many factors involved in determining the Minimum Fee structure (rent) for a particular location. A few of these factors include, but are not limited to, the type and size of your concession/operation, location, estimated sales and estimated expenses. Minimum Fees and Percentage Fees are discussed with applicants during the interview process. If you complete an application, you will be contacted in the beginning of the new year to schedule an interview and discuss your proposed concession location and operation.
At a minimum, you should plan for:

  • An annual Business License Fee of $ 75 to $125.00
  • This fee may increase for permanent facilities and cafe’s with seating
  • A Performance Deposit of $400.00
  • Food Sanitation Permit – Cost of permit varies depending on location size and product mix.
  • Insurance – 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 Park Concession Management, LLC as additional insured on a primary and non-contributory basis. (You will have to shop around; many companies quote a minimum rate of $750 for an annual policy).
  • Registration fees for a Foodservice Sanitation Class (approx. $320.00/person);
  • A concession location – you must purchase your own concession facility (i.e., cart, trailer, kiosk) and standard concession signage.
  • Operational service costs of services provided by the Park District, including but
    not limited to: utilities, trash removal, etc.

In addition to the CPD License, you must attend a Foodservice Sanitation Course. Each concession must have at least two (2) persons certified with the Chicago Dept. of Health Certified Foodservice Manager Certificate. The City Colleges of Chicago, the Illinois Restaurant Association, and the Bio Test Lab Office offer these classes. Please make certain you are receiving the correct certificate, as there are several different kinds.

The Chicago Park District will entertain any and all proposals/ideas for locations. However, any proposal is subject to Chicago Park District approval.

No! The Peddler’s License is issued by the City of Chicago for city property. The Chicago Park District issues Permit Agreements for Park District property, which includes parks, beaches, lakefront property and Buckingham Fountain. If you are found selling on Park District property, you will be given a ticket and a hefty fine by the Chicago Police Dept., and are subject to confiscation of your products and/or equipment.

You are responsible for finding and securing your own concession cart, trailer or kiosk which meets the design guidelines of the CPD. The concession type must first be approved by the Park District. You will be asked to bring a sample photo or drawing of your proposed concession idea to your interview. UCG Associates will be happy to guide your process in securing your concession facility.

Final Note: We realize that you will be anxious to get started with this process, but we strongly urge applicants NOT to spend any money relating to the Concession Program until you have been officially notified that you have been awarded a 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 official notification of approval will be at your own risk.