Taste Of Chicago Still A Money Loser For City
By Chuck Sudo in Food on Feb 20, 2013 3:30PM
Image Credit: Steven Lee
So how did the re-tooled Taste of Chicago fare for the city? Not well, from a financial standpoint.
According to the Tribune, the city lost $1.3 million on the shortened festival, despite the addition of pop-up dinners that cost separate from food tickets for the festival and charging admission to seats at Petrillo band shell for concerts during the festival, the latter of which went over like a fart in church.
None of this is surprising. Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Commissioner Michelle Boone said during budget hearings last October Taste of Chicago would not come close to breaking even and was reconciling the losses. Last year’s festival cost $6 million to produce.
What is surprising is how the Emanuel administration is now framing their changes to the festival. When the changes were officially announced, the reason given by Boone was with a strict eye to the bottom line.
"It’s our hope that the fest will still be free. [But] we have to figure out the right financial model that makes sense, so we’re not losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in trying to deliver this."
Here’s what Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in July 2011.
"The problem, it was a cost both for the restaurants that held it — revenue wasn't what it was before — and it's a cost for the city. That can't continue as constructed, but we all have an interest in continuing the Taste of Chicago."
Now officials are saying the changes were made to make Taste of Chicago safer. City spokeswoman Eve Rodriguez also said the changes made to Taste have it in heading the right direction.