Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Chicago, IL, United States (4E) – McDonald’s new headquarters in Chicago is the size of an entire city block and is part of its bid to become a “more modern and progressive burger company.”
Costing $250 million, the HQ is located in the Fulton Market district and was built on the site of Oprah Winfrey’s defunct Harpo Studios. McDonald’s moved into the new building from its previous headquarter in the Oak Brook suburbs as part of a move to lure new customers and attract top talent living in the city.
Over 2,000 employees now work at the modern nine-story building the West Loop, a neighborhood famous for its trendy restaurants. McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said the building was designed to remind employees to always be creative and think outside the box. These are qualities Easterbrook admitted McDonald’s doesn’t have enough of.
The second floor is occupied by Hamburger University, the company’s training program for managers. The third floor houses the test kitchens where McDonald’s develops new sandwiches, sauces and other items. Floors four to eight are occupied by the corporate staff. A few executives have offices on the ninth floor.
The building has some 300 conference or smaller “huddle” rooms, each equipped with video presentation capabilities. Easterbrook said he has already felt a new “energy” in the building and said he believes that the building is the key to staying “closer to customers, closer to competitors and closer to trends.”
Instead of a ribbon cutting, Easterbrook and Mayor Rahm Emanuel pressed a virtual button on a projection screen to mimic the kiosk ordering process in thousands of McDonald’s newly renovated U.S. restaurants.
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