The chief executive officer of McDonald’s told a group of Chicago business leaders on Wednesday that he’s not lovin’ the city right now.
“Everywhere I go, I’m confronted by the same question. ‘What’s going on in Chicago?” Chris Kempczinski told members of the Economic Club of Chicago, according to the Wall Street Journal. “There is a general sense out there that our city is in crisis.”
Boeing and Caterpillar announced this year that their company HQs are leaving town. And Citadel Securities chief Ken Griffin hauled his company headquarters to Florida after repeatedly complaining about Chicago’s crime problems.
But Kempczinski said his company’s headquarters would be staying in the West Loop, where it moved from Oak Brook four years ago. The city needs to fix some problems, though.
“The burger giant is grappling with violent crime, homelessness and drug overdoses in its Chicago restaurants, and [Kempczinski] called on city and business leaders to find ways to address the problems,” the Journal reported.
Crain’s Chicago Business also reported on his speech:
“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.”
Kempczinski said he talks up the positive parts of Chicago—the lakefront, diversity, relatively low cost of living—but “it shouldn’t be this hard.”
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.”
“That’s one of the things about McDonald’s,” Kempczinski said, according to Crain’s. “Whatever’s happening in society, good or bad, you can be sure it’s happening at McDonald’s.”