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Taste Of Chicago Turns First Profit Since 2007

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Sep 30, 2013 2:20PM

Photo credit: S Demmer

Taste of Chicago 2013 finished in the black for the first time in six years, according to the Mayor’s office and Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

This year’s festival made $272,000 in profit, generated an estimated $106 million in total business activity to the Chicago economy and generated more than $2.35 million in tax receipts for the city. Those seem like modest numbers on the surface but, considering the city lost $1.3 million on last year’s festival that is an impressive rebound… on paper.*

The profit is being credited to the addition of food trucks to the festival, the musical acts and pop-up restaurants. That and the other changes Mayor Emanuel has made to Taste since he took office have, on the surface, shown the festival is still viable and brings in crowds. Scott Ranssi, Chief Operating Officer of Custom Intercept Solutions, said 59 percent of Taste’s attendance were from outside of Chicago and 74 percent of visitors indicated the fest was their primary reason for visiting Chicago.

DCASE Commissioner Michelle Boone said, “We’ll continue to work to have Taste drive tourism and strengthen our economy and provide residents and visitors an annual opportunity to enjoy our fantastic culinary scene.”

(*)Given how city departments have not cooperated with Inspector General Joseph Ferguson in the past to prove profits and losses, let’s not go cheering for these Taste numbers yet.