Higher Food and Fuel Costs Squeezing Taste of Chicago Vendors

By Wendy Wollenberg June 26, 2008, 3:01 PM EDT

Crain's Chicago Business reported Tuesday that rising food and fuel costs are having an adverse effect on Taste of Chicago vendors this year. The 10-day Taste of Chicago, which opens Friday in Grant Park, features booths from 74 local restaurants. Businesses wanting to participate in the Taste submitted applications in January, before prices for items including wheat, eggs, and vegetables hit record highs. The paperwork outlined vendors' proposed menu items, portion sizes, and prices, which no longer reflect the reality of rising costs. Therefore, the restaurants will see slimmer profit margins than in years past.

According to Taste requirements, the average price for a restaurant's menu item must be $3.75 and no more than $5. The story also reports that restaurant participation fees for the Taste are also up this year, from $2,500 to $4,000, which was spent on recruiting big-name musical entertainment, including Stevie Wonder, Joss Stone, and Chicago natives Plain White T's, with the goal of adding to the Taste's overall attendance numbers.

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