McDonald’s has moved its headquarters back to Chicago. The company left the CBD of Chicago in 1971 and has returned 47 years later, for a new high tech, high culture environment.
The $250 million building opened Monday and is part of the company’s push to become a “more modern and progressive burger company,” says CEO Steve Easterbrook.
“We were based on the edge of the city for about the last 40 something years,” Easterbrook told CNBC Monday. “It’s been a wonderful facility for us, but it was a little detached from everyday life.”
Situated in the up and coming trendy neighbourhood of West Loop, McDonald’s hopes to cultivate top talent by tapping into emerging food crazes.
As part of its International food endeavour, the company is showcasing its menus from its many international restaurants. Selected items will be available to purchase in the restaurant which is also located within the $230m facility.
McDonald’s has devoted the entire second floor to the “Hamburger University,” where the company trains its managers and the 3rd floor to research & development.
The university was founded by McDonald’s senior chairman Fred Turner in 1961, more than 80,000 restaurant managers, mid-managers and owner/operators have graduated from the university.
It is clear that McDonald’s has designed their new headquarters with collaboration in mind. There are strategically merged business activities with employee respite, all aimed at reducing time-consuming activities and increasing employee efficiency.
The McDonald’s employee cafe that features stadium seating has been devoted to the sixth floor. Employees can enjoy a barista style cafe and solve laptop issues with the internally located tech bar, all aimed at saving time.
An interesting concept is the “work neighbourhood”, which is a space that provides flexibility for employees to find the best environment to meet their needs. From private phone rooms and lockers to communal tables and workstations.
There are 300 conference rooms, each equipped with the latest technology and a conference centre large enough for 700 people.
As you would expect in any high tech company, unassigned benches, couches, and cubicles, as well as cafe-like workspaces allowing for impromptu conversations and collaboration, are placed throughout the building.
And yes, the company has included a fitness centre with several outdoor terraces showcasing views of the city of Chicago.