‘What’s going on in Chicago?’ McDonald’s CEO says Windy City is ‘in crisis’ due to crime

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempzinski told business leaders of the Economic Club of Chicago at a luncheon on Wednesday that the Windy City “is in crisis.”

With crime reported to have surged 37% since 2021, McDonald’s is having trouble getting its employees to return to the American icon’s Chicago headquarters location, according to the New York Post. In addition, the company has found it increasingly difficult to recruit new workers to the city as news of its devastating wave of violence gains notoriety across America.

There have been increases of 18% in robberies, 28% in burglaries, 65% in thefts, and 66% in motor vehicle thefts year-to-date citywide compared to 2021, according to the Chicago Police Department. Although there have been 15% fewer murders this year compared to last, the number this year, at 479, is 33% above 2019 figures.

“Everywhere I go, I’m confronted by the same question: ‘What’s going on in Chicago?’” Kempczinski reportedly told the Economic Club. “There is a general sense out there that our city is in crisis.”

McDonald’s had moved its headquarters in 1971 from Chicago to the Oak Brook suburb, where it remained until returning to downtown Chicago in 2018, brandishing a new $250 million facility. Kempczinski reportedly stated that McDonald’s is not planning to move the HQ from Chicago despite the carnage around it, and in fact, the company recently announced a new innovation center planned for the nearby West Loop area.

According to McDonald’s, the company generated $2 billion for the Cook County economy.

Kempczinski urged government officials to take heed of departures by major companies that pulled up stakes and moved out of Chicago due to similar concerns about crime, according to the Post.

“We see every single day in our restaurants what’s happening at society at large,” said Kempczinski, a Chicago resident.

“It’s not going to be something that McDonald’s can solve on its own. We need to be able to do it with the public sector as well,” he continued.

Other large American companies have recently “seen the dark,” and announced plans to exit Chicagoland for greener pastures in states with likely fewer green mandates.

Boeing in 2001 moved its headquarters from its longtime home Seattle, Washington to Chicago. It wants out already, announcing in May of this year that it is relocating to Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C.

The $51 billion hedge fund Citadel, led by billionaire investor Ken Griffin, announced in June that it would escape to  the Free State of Florida and the more welcoming city of Miami, which has reported extremely low crime and murder rates this year, with just 52 murders as of August 21, down 22.4% from 2021. Miami, it just so happens, is run by the no-nonsense police-friendly Republican administration of Francis X. Suarez.

Another American icon corporation, Caterpillar, announced in June that it would be bulldozing its way out of Chicagoland’s morass for the Free State of Texas and the Dallas metropolitan area. The company had moved to the Chicago suburb of Deerfield just five years ago from its longtime home in Peoria, Illinois. Now it wants out.

Chicago isn’t the only area to experience the Democratic doldrums. According to Chicago’s WTTW, “A handful of technology companies have also recently shifted their headquarters from California’s Silicon Valley to Texas. Tesla and Oracle have moved to Austin, while Hewlett-Packard Packard Enterprises is now in Spring, Texas, outside Houston.”

Earlier this month, McDonald’s USA President Joe Erlinger slammed a proposal in California that could set minimum wages for fast-food workers as high as $22/hour next year in that state.


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