Chicago winter dining

Chicago Is Offering $5,000 Cash Prizes For Winter Dining Solutions

Winter in Chicago is notoriously cold, so outdoor dining isn’t usually the most popular option. But with social distancing measures still in place, indoor dining isn’t bouncing back any time soon. So, how to ensure that Chicago restaurants can make it through the winter? The city of Chicago is offering $5,000 to residents who can come up with the best Chicago winter dining solutions!

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a variety of challenges to residents of Chicago and Chicago’s business owners. Restaurants, bars, and cafes are business types that have been able to open for safe on-site service as the weather warmed up in the city.

Now, the City of Chicago is trying to think through how to keep the neighbourhood businesses (especially restaurants and bars) open during the late Fall and Winter as the weather turns colder. Takeout and delivery will remain options but they often do not provide sufficient revenue to keep these places in business. As such, designing ways to attract customers to go out to their neighbourhood restaurants and stay on-site for their meals is the priority in this exciting new design challenge.

Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, announced the Chicago Winter Dining Challenge on Twitter. The brief is “seeking solutions to stimulate and encourage safe outdoor dining.” The solution needs to keep both customers and restaurant/bar staff safe, during cold weather months in Chicago.” And yep, you can win money for your clever ideas.

Chicago Residents Could Win $5,000 in Cash for Winter Dining Solutions

Up to three winning ideas will be chosen, so there’s $15,000 in cash prizes. Each winner will receive $5,000. Solutions must be centered around facilitating in-person outdoor dining experiences, rather than delivery or take out.

People are jumping in with their ideas on Twitter already, with the most popular responses being some sort of igloos or tents. This would allow groups to dine together without interacting with other diners. Pop-up igloos are a cute idea that cities such as London and New York have used before. Other ideas include extra patio heaters or ‘closing off’ small streets.

Want to submit your idea? You can enter the challenge online here. Closing date for entries is September 7th and ideally the winning ideas will be up and running by October.

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Sarah Clayton-Lea
Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder of Big 7 Travel, Sarah created the company through her passion for championing the world's best food and travel experiences. Before her career in digital media, where she previously held roles such as Editor of Food&Wine Ireland, Sarah worked in the hospitality industry in Dublin and New York.

Contact [email protected]

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