City of Chicago Winter Dining Challenge

How might we stimulate and encourage safe outdoor dining and entertainment during cold weather in Chicago?

Let’s stimulate and encourage safe outdoor dining and entertainment during cold weather in Chicago.
Let’s stimulate and encourage safe outdoor dining and entertainment during cold weather in Chicago.
We’re Looking For
  • We are seeking solutions to stimulate and encourage safe outdoor dining, for both customers and restaurant/bar staff, during cold weather months in Chicago 
  • Solutions must be centered around facilitating in-person outdoor dining experiences, rather than delivery or take out
  • Solutions may relate to physical space as well as operations/service
The Opportunity
  • Winning solutions are eligible to receive a $5,000 cash prize.  A total of three winners will be chosen.
  • Selected ideas are eligible to access potential piloting opportunities that will be funded by corporate sponsors. Building on the success of the outdoor dining program, the City of Chicago will be piloting this in many areas, including those in the INVEST South/West program for prototyping.
What's Happening Now?
  • Idea submissions are being evaluated for consideration as Top Ideas. Top Ideas will be announced on September 29, 2020.
Participants are welcome to submit solutions to the Beyond the Bag Challenge through one of three submission channels. Learn more about each channel.

Introduction to the Challenge

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a variety of challenges to residents of Chicago and Chicago’s business owners.  Businesses that rely on socializing and/or having people in close proximity to one another are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 mitigation efforts, like social distancing and robust ventilation.  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 neighborhood 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 neighborhood restaurants and stay on-site for their meals is the priority in this design challenge.

Challenge Journey

Ideas Phase

Aug 25, 2020

Sep 7, 2020

Evaluation Phase

Sep 8, 2020

Sep 28, 2020

Top Ideas

Sep 29, 2020

Oct 31, 2020

Current Phase
Ideas Phase

During the Ideas Phase, we invite you to submit your idea at any stage of development. Make sure to click "Publish" on your idea so it will be live and able to be evaluated.

We welcome you to submit your idea and use the platform to connect and find partners as well as share inspiration and feedback with others.

WHAT'S HAPPENING

We are seeking solutions to stimulate and encourage safe outdoor dining, for both customers and restaurant/bar staff, during cold weather months in Chicago.

KEY DATES

Idea submissions will be accepted until 11:30pm PT on September 7, 2020.

Submit an Idea
Evaluation Phase

During the Evaluation Phase, a jury composed of representative stakeholders will evaluate submissions and select winners in the following categories:

Transforming our dining areas (emphasis on structures/infrastructure)

  • Indoor-adjacent Ideas — ventilation, heating for areas immediately adjacent to indoor space 
  • Outdoor Ideas — structures separated from indoor space and on a sidewalk, parking lot or other open area

Winter Outdoor Dining — Ideas for behavior change

  • Broad catch-all category of making outdoor dining more appealing in the winter.
WHAT'S HAPPENING

Idea submissions are being evaluated for consideration as Top Ideas.

KEY DATES

The Evaluation Phase will close on September 28, 2020. Top Ideas will be announced on September 29, 2020.

Top Ideas

During this Phase, stay tuned for an announcement of Top Ideas and opportunities offered to support those teams.

WHAT'S HAPPENING

Top Ideas will be announced, supported, and celebrated.

KEY DATES

Stay tuned for dates and more information.

The Challenge

How might we stimulate and encourage safe outdoor dining and entertainment during cold weather in Chicago?

Read The Full Brief

What Happens to My Idea?

BMO Harris Bank has committed funding to advancing the identification, acceleration, and scaling of new on-site dining solutions.

As a participant in the Challenge, you acknowledge that other participants and the judging team will be able to view your submissions. While there is no formal transfer of intellectual property rights as a condition of participating in the Challenge, your ideas will be visible in a public domain. Please review our full Terms & Conditions before submitting a concept. Please do not submit confidential information as part of your application.

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Evaluation Criteria

Submissions will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

‍1. People: The solution seeks to provide a safe, accessible, and enjoyable way to take part in on-site dining for customers, restaurant/bar staff, and associated personnel alike.

  • CUSTOMER PERFORMANCE: The solution is designed to delight the customer and enhances or maintains the customer experience through the change in seasons. The solution will also meet applicable COVID-19 safety standards and criteria as outlined by the designated phase in the Reopening Chicago plan. 
  • BUSINESS & PERSONNEL PERFORMANCE: The solution seeks to integrate into restaurant/bar environments and maintain or enhance the employee and associated personnel experience by supporting safe and efficient workflows in delivering an on-site dining or entertainment experience. This is to include the safety and consideration of: owner/operators, front- and back-of-house staff, maintenance & janitorial staff, delivery & distribution partners, construction & environmental design partners, and inspectors.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: The solution is considerate of the varying abilities of all customers and employees, and is compliant with ADA rules and regulations.
  • INCLUSIVITY: The solution is considerate of the diversity and range of Chicago’s restaurant and bar owner/operator and worker community, including provisions that are mindful and respectful of 1) different business constraints including but not limited to: variations in business/service models, location sizes, spendable wealth, locations within the city, guest demographics, business affiliations, and operational complexities; and 2) different cultural identities including but not limited to: variations in spoken language, race, color, national origin, age, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or immigration status.
  • HEALTH AND SAFETY: The solution must consider human health and safety, and be in compliance with all local, state and federal regulations in their country of origin and with a plan to meet U.S. regulations. Review our Additional Resources for City regulation specifics to help you get started.

2. Business: The solution seeks to provide a near-term solution for restaurant owners/operators during the cold weather season. 

  • FEASIBILITY: The solution is technically realizable and offers an attainable path forward towards broad implementation and adoption by October 2020.
  • VIABILITY: The solution creates sufficient value for the business (i.e. it supports a sufficient volume of on-site diners) to cover operational costs and necessary capital investments.  The solution considers cost to build/install and ease of set up/tear down/storage.

3. City of Chicago: The solution seeks to encourage City of Chicago residents to participate in and contribute to the business vibrancy of Chicago’s neighborhoods throughout the year.  

  • VERSATILITY: The solution is viable in a wide range of applications for different restaurant contexts (e.g. sidewalks, parking lots, streeteries, etc.)  and in any of Chicago’s neighborhoods/business districts.
  • CLIMATE COMFORT: The solution encourages Chicagoans to comfortably spend time outdoors when the weather turns cool.
  • CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE: The solution respects and accepts cultural differences of owner/operators, employees, guests, and neighborhoods.
  • SUSTAINABILITY: The solution is mindful of waste and environmental impact and it uses eco-friendly materials, resources and methods as much and whenever possible.
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What is Required

Submissions will be required to provide the following:

  • Solution overview: Participants will provide a summary of your solution including how it addresses needs (people, businesses, public health, the city). Visual and design-oriented collateral is encouraged. 
  • Feasibility: Participants will present a pathway to scale, keeping in mind that the goal is for restaurant, bar, and cafe owners/operators to be able to quickly implement these solutions as the weather gets colder.  Readily available, inexpensive, and non-customized materials should be prioritized.
  • Technical overview: Participants will provide an overview that explains how your solution would work from a technical perspective. Particular attention should be paid to explaining what would be needed to implement your solution including any unique materials or capabilities. How might your idea be prototyped? Please do not submit confidential information as part of your application to the Chicago Winter Challenge. Submissions will not be considered confidential. 
  • Equity overview: Participants will provide a summary of the diversity, equity, and inclusion considerations incorporated into the final design.
  • Prototype:  Participants will provide visual evidence of concept prototyping including, but not limited to: images/sketches, models, videos, or other relevant formats. We want to understand the process by which you experimented, explored tradeoffs, and validated your idea.
  • User research: Submissions will include evidence of human-centered user research, feedback and testing of their concepts or prototypes. Participatory design research methods are strongly encouraged, e.g. compensated co-creation and feedback sessions with community & business members/leaders and/or subject-matter experts. User research should have evidence of compensation for research participants, and prioritize the involvement of individuals representing the typologies of people the designs are intended to serve.
  • COVID-19 Safety: Submissions must adhere to the City of Chicago’s COVID-19 guidelines, and clearly demonstrate how the solution is working within these guidelines.

Please note that all proposals that include physical structures are subject to guidelines specified by the Chicago Department of Buildings. Specifically, all structures must be less than 400 square feet and not elevated more than 18 inches off the ground.


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A jury composed of representative stakeholders will evaluate submissions and select winners in the following categories:

Transforming our dining areas (emphasis on structures/infrastructure)

  • Indoor-adjacent Ideas — ventilation, heating for areas immediately adjacent to indoor space
  • Outdoor Ideas — structures separated from indoor space and on a sidewalk, parking lot, or other open area

Winter Outdoor Dining — Ideas for behavior change

  • Broad catch-all category of making outdoor dining more appealing in the winter
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How to Participate

Participants are welcome to submit solutions through OpenIDEO.

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FAQs

Why should I participate in this challenge?

Three winners are eligible to receive a $5000 cash prize. Awardees may also be selected to scale their solutions with support from BMO Harris Bank. All participants and all winners benefit from public visibility, and often, media coverage.

Are you looking for a single solution?

We anticipate there may be a variety of solutions at different stages of development that could be adopted at different stages to accommodate evolving needs and safety requirements, as well as varying contexts.

Will you own the Intellectual Property associated with my proposed solution?

There is no formal IP transfer during the submission process. However, your solutions will be visible to other participants and the Challenge judging team.





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Who’s Involved

This design challenge is led by the City of Chicago with support from BMO Harris Bank, Illinois Restaurant Association, and IDEO. The Design Challenge judging team is currently being finalized.

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View Ideas
View Ideas
Challenge Resources:
Challenge Team:

Chris Krohn

Senior Portfolio Lead

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