McDonald’s CEO said the fast food giant is having trouble convincing employees to return to the office at its Chicago headquarters over fears of an upsurge in crime.
CEO Chris Kempczynski told Windy City business leaders on Wednesday that McDonald’s workers are reluctant to ride mass transit due to the surge in violent crime.
He also said it was difficult to hire more workers in Chicago due to concerns about quality of life.
“Wherever I go, I am faced with the same question: ‘What is going on in Chicago?'” Kempzinski told the Economic Club of Chicago on Wednesday.
“There is a general feeling that our city is in crisis.”
The CEO’s remarks were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The Post requested comment from Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.
Kempzinski said McDonald’s will remain in Chicago. Golden Arches has announced that it plans to unveil an innovation hub near its headquarters in the West Loop section of the Windy City.
McDonald’s moved downtown in 2018, when its $250 million headquarters was christened after nearly four decades in Oak Brook, a suburb about 30 minutes from downtown.
The company left Chicago for Oak Brook again in 1971 as part of its expansion plans.
According to McDonald’s, the company has generated about $2 billion for the economy of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States, which includes Chicago as well as Evanston, Elgin and Arlington Heights.
Kempczynski urged government officials to watch out for major companies that have pulled their stakes out of Chicago over similar crime concerns.
“Every day in our restaurants we see what is happening in the community as a whole,” said Kempczynski, a Chicago resident.
“It won’t be something McDonald’s can solve on its own. We need to be able to do it with the public sector as well.”
Earlier this year, three large companies announced that they were moving out of Chicagoland.
Citadel, the giant hedge fund run by billionaire Ken Griffin, said it is ending its 30-year headquarters presence in Chicago and moving to Miami — citing rising crime as a key factor in the decision.
Boeing, which moved its headquarters to the city’s West Loop from Seattle in 2001, announced in May that it would move to Arlington, Virginia — outside of Washington, DC.
Caterpillar, the construction giant, announced this summer that the company is leaving Chicago’s north shore suburb of Deerfield for the booming Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
According to the Chicago Police Department, there has been an 18% increase in burglaries, a 28% increase in the number of burglaries, a 65% increase in burglaries, and a 66% increase in car thefts citywide since the start of the calendar compared to 2021.
Although homicides are down 15% this year citywide compared to last year, the number of homicides so far this year — 479 — is still 33% higher than it was three years ago.
Kempzinski also criticized California Governor Gavin Newsom for signing into law what he called a “terrible policy” that would appoint a board to set wages for fast food workers.
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