McDonald’s Corp. recently celebrated the grand opening of its new corporate headquarters in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago. Prior to unveiling the state-of-the-art building, the facility had been covered in a 70-foot tall, 470-foot wide wrap dotted with Big Macs.
“Our move back home to Chicago is about more than a building – it’s symbolic of our journey to transform our brand and become more closely connected with our customers,” said McDonald’s President and CEO Steve Easterbrook. “Our new location enables us to better listen, learn, and engage with our customers whilst providing a modern, worker-friendly headquarters that fosters collaboration and re-energises employees. We are thrilled to join the West Loop and add to the vitality of this community.”
The move marks a return to Chicago where the company was headquartered from 1955 to 1971. In addition to the approximately 2,000 people based there, it will house the flagship Hamburger University (HU) location, providing state-of-the-art learning for the company’s employees and future leaders.
Designed to maximize employee collaboration, the new headquarters features:
- “Work neighborhoods” with open floor plans that give employees the flexibility to pick the environment which best fits their needs any time of day and serve as a home base for departments. Neighborhoods includes huddle rooms, communal tables, workstations, private phone rooms, and personal lockers.
- A 700-person conference center equipped with the latest technology, allowing for connectivity on a global scale.
- A Work Café on the sixth floor is the ultimate collaboration space for employees with stadium seating. It is designed to represent the colorful tube/tunnels in a PlayPlace, offers a McCafé serving barista style coffee and Canadian pastries, and a tech bar for employees’ technological needs.
- Several outdoor terrace spaces and a ninth-floor fitness center with picturesque views of Chicago.
Brittany McDonough, a six-year McDonald’s employee and co-chair of the company’s Young Professionals Network told those gathered at the grand opening: “McDonald’s move back to Chicago reinforces its commitment to emerging leaders who value increased opportunities to be part of a dynamic cultural and civic community.”
The LEED certifiable building reflects McDonald’s commitment to sustainability. All waste produced in the test kitchens will be composted and the building also features a green roof.
Throughout the building are nods to McDonald’s heritage including museum-quality displays of Happy Meal toys, vintage memorabilia, and a tribute wall to McDonald’s groundbreaking leaders, inventors, and owner-operators.
The ground floor is home to a one-of-a-kind McDonald’s restaurant that features a rotating menu of favorites from around the globe – as well as classic menu items – connecting McDonald’s international reach to Chicago. This Experience of the Future (EOTF) restaurant illustrates the company’s commitment to transforming the customer experience with self-order kiosks, table service, enhanced hospitality, mobile order and payment, and McDelivery with Uber Eats.
The building was developed by Sterling Bay; Gensler served as architect of record; interiors were designed by IA Interior Architects and Studio O+A; and the general contractors were McHugh & ECI Executive Construction Inc. McDonald’s office space, including HU, will occupy 490,000 square feet of the building.