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McDonald’s CEO to city: “Let us know the plan so we can support it”

Thursday, Sep 15, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Yesterday

McDonald’s is planning to open a new innovation lab at its West Loop headquarters.

The lab will focus on creating restaurant solutions and technologies, McDonald’s said today in a news release. The roughly 120 employees from the burger giant’s Innovation Center in Romeoville, which opened in 1995, will be given the option to relocate to the city. McDonald’s will exit the Romeoville lease at the end of 2023. […]

In the news release, Mayor Lori Lightfoot lauded the company for “continuing to bet on Chicago.” McDonald’s said it is not receiving financial incentives for the move.

* Also yesterday

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski railed on Chicago and its crime issues this afternoon, in an effort to rally the city and its business leaders to improve the place their companies call home. […]

“There’s a general sense out there that our city is in crisis,” he said. “The truth is, it’s more difficult today for me to convince (a McDonald’s executive) to relocate to Chicago from one of our other offices than it was just a few years ago. It’s more difficult for me to recruit a new employee to McDonald’s to join us in Chicago than it was in the past.” […]

There needs to be better collaboration between the public and private sectors, he said. Improving public safety should be the first priority. Kempczinski said he knows the city is focused on the issue, but business leaders don’t know what the city’s plan is.

“Let us know the plan so we can support it,” he said. “It’s going to take partnership.”

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28 Comments
  1. - 44 - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 10:29 am:

    Collaboration yes! Good private sector ideas, engage and grow. Enough of this run them out of town BS. If you have travelled at all recently it’s the lead off ? What is going on in chicago? Let’s deal with it.


  2. - Anon E Moose - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 10:39 am:

    Does Kempczinski have any ideas? Other than blaming parents?


  3. - Moe Berg - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 10:42 am:

    “What’s the plan?” A reasonable question. Even more so when it’s coming from someone who is bringing employees into the city despite the challenges. Many Chicagoans are asking the same.

    Similarly the profound disrespect of the CTA’s Dorval Carter refusing to show up to the city council and explain the plan for his agency and answer questions is more evidence the city needs a new mayor.

    Lightfoot promised to be unlike her predecessors. Instead, she’s approached Richard J. Daley levels of imperiousness.


  4. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 10:42 am:

    “Let us know the plan so we can support it,”
    There’s a plan?


  5. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 10:47 am:

    Hey Chris -

    Maybe you could start be sending an open letter to Darren Bailey et al and ask them to stop playing politics with gun violence in an effort to strike terror into the hearts of the public, maybe even support some common sense gun safety measures, and stop backing candidates that consistently oppose efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

    You are a Fortune 500 Company, your frontline employees live in communities disproportionately impacted by gun violence, so stop acting like you are powerless to influence public policy.

    If you can convince every Republican to oppose raising the minimum wage, you ought to be able to move a few Republicans into the “No, it does not make sense for teenagers to have assault rifles” column.


  6. - NIU Grad - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 10:54 am:

    How long until Lori goes after him at a press conference?


  7. - Gina - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 10:56 am:

    “What’s the plan?”

    He just saying what everyone is thinking…McDonald’s took a bet on the City of Chicago when it abandoned Oak Brook to connect with younger customers. Hopefully, this plea for a discussion on a solution won’t be met with personal attacks, accusations and purity tests Hopefully, he’s able to jump start a short and long term policy discussion. The solutions to the root causes of crime are there, they just take time and a whole lot of money to solve in an equitable manner.


  8. - Blue Dog - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 10:57 am:

    Darren. Read carefully. This is how you avoid using terms like hellhole.


  9. - Arsenal - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 10:58 am:

    ==Darren. Read carefully. This is how you avoid using terms like hellhole.==

    Are we sure that that’s one of his goals, though?


  10. - Google Is Your Friend - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 11:08 am:

    If I was the board of directors at McDonald’s, I would fire a CEO who can’t use Google (or Bing or DuckDuckGo)

    https://www.chicago.gov/content/dam/city/sites/public-safety-and-violenc-reduction/pdfs/OurCityOurSafety.pdf


  11. - Lincoln Lad - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 11:09 am:

    What is McDonalds doing on their own? Short of blaming parents while ordering another cocktail.


  12. - Blue Dog - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 11:13 am:

    Commit a felony with a gun. 25 yrs. No parole. There. Fixed it for you.


  13. - vern - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 11:14 am:

    ===Darren. Read carefully===

    Bailey doesn’t matter here. He’s not going to be Governor, he won’t have a role. The person who needs to be learning from this is Catanzara. When was the last time we heard the police union offer partnership?

    This isn’t going to get solved without substantial reforms to CPD. The union needs to get out of their reactionary crouch and comfortable with change, or it’s all going to be just nipping around the edges.


  14. - MisterJayEm - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 11:21 am:

    “There’s a plan?”

    Step 1: Crack down on hamburglarly.

    – MrJM


  15. - Pundent - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 11:26 am:

    =Commit a felony with a gun. 25 yrs. No parole. There. Fixed it for you.=

    Punishment does not equate to prevention. Never has and it’s been well studied and proven. The most cursory review would show that. If this is all you or Bailey got you’re not going to be taken seriously.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 11:29 am:

    Candidate Lightfoot might have a plan, or had a plan, or considered a plan… but Mayor Lightfoot is not much of a team player to implement a plan… so far.


  17. - vern - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 12:03 pm:

    ===Punishment does not equate to prevention.===

    Severity of punishment doesn’t, but there’s strong evidence that swiftness and certainty of punishment do have strong deterrence effects. If CPD were solving crimes at a rapid clip, I think that would have a significant effect.


  18. - Blue Dog - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 12:04 pm:

    MJM at 11:21. excellent.


  19. - JS Mill - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 12:16 pm:

    =Even more so when it’s coming from someone who is bringing employees into the city despite the challenges.=

    For those ripping McD’s, realize that they went through considerable effort and expense tp relocate all of their HQ operations to Chicago. They have done their part and they are not in the law enforcement business.


  20. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 12:38 pm:

    MJM, you made me Grimace


  21. - Just Saying - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 1:03 pm:

    ==What is McDonalds doing on their own? Short of blaming parents while ordering another cocktail.==

    While making said parents and their kids obese with their “food.”


  22. - Highland IL - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 1:28 pm:

    ===Darren. Read carefully===

    Not once did he mention the “the three musketeers of crime, chaos and dysfunction.”


  23. - thisjustinagain - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 1:35 pm:

    Actually stiff sentences work for the Feds all the time; look up “Project Exile”, where the Feds prosecuted and imprisoned gun-crime felons hard. Word got out “don’t carry a gun doing crimes”, fewer criminals were caught with guns, shootings went down. The “specific deterrence” to individual felons of being imprisoned also had street impact.
    Unlike what we do in Illinois, and Cook County….


  24. - de Gaulle - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 1:52 pm:

    He’s obviously exactly right and I suspect that most of the people commenting against him here do not live within the confines of 606.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 1:58 pm:

    - de Gaulle -

    Are you in “606”?

    Further, if he’s exactly right what is exactly right about asking about a plan?

    You berate commenters here, friend, you must not read too much here, that is asked every day, “what is the plan?”

    I know, I know, you wanna own someone for some silly reason you don’t even know what to do if you owned someone, lol


  26. - Jerry - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 2:13 pm:

    Agree with Thomas Paine at 1047am. The CEO is not a victim here.


  27. - Sue - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 4:10 pm:

    Folks - you ard fools to either ignore or criticize this CEO. He employs 1000’s here in Chicago and is actually investing in the community. If he says he has trouble recruiting and/or recruiting due to what is occurring- why berate him. He wants to partner with Chicago but he is saying our pols need to be honest and acknowledge what they are doing isn’t making Chicago/Illinois a good place to grow a business.


  28. - The Velvet Frog - Thursday, Sep 15, 22 @ 7:03 pm:

    It should also be noted that this CEO donates to democratic candidates. This isn’t someone making an attack for the sake of being partisan.


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