The CEO of McDonald’s said the fast-food giant is having trouble convincing employees to return to the office at its Chicago headquarters due to fears of surging crime.

Chief executive Chris Kempczinski told business leaders in the Windy City on Wednesday that McDonald’s workers are hesitant to ride mass transit due to a significant increase in violent crime.

He also said it has been a struggle to recruit more workers to Chicago due to concerns over quality of life.

“Everywhere I go, I’m confronted by the same question: ‘What’s going on in Chicago?’” Kempczinski told the Economic Club of Chicago on Wednesday.

“There is a general sense out there that our city is in crisis.”

The CEO’s remarks were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The Post has sought comment from Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker.

McDonald's employees in Chicago are said to be fearful of riding mass transit due to a surge in crime.
McDonald’s employees in Chicago are said to be fearful of riding mass transit due to a surge in crime.
Getty Images

Kempczinski said McDonald’s will remain in Chicago. The Golden Arches announced that it plans to unveil an innovation center near its headquarters in the West Loop section of the Windy City.

McDonald’s relocated to downtown in 2018, when it christened its $250 million headquarters after nearly four decades in Oak Brook, a suburb that lies some 30 minutes from the city center.

The company left Chicago in favor of Oak Brook back in 1971 as part of its expansion plans.

According to McDonald’s, the company generated some $2 billion for the economy of Cook County, the second-most populous county in the US, which encompasses Chicago as well as Evanston, Elgin and Arlington Heights.

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.

“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.” 

Earlier this year, three large companies announced they were relocating from Chicagoland.

Citadel, the hedge fund giant run by billionaire Ken Griffin, said it was ending its headquarters’ 30-year presence in Chicago and relocating to Miami — citing rising crime as a key factor in the decision.

McDonald's says it generates $2 billion for the local economy in Chicago and the surrounding areas.
McDonald’s says it generates $2 billion for the local economy in Chicago and the surrounding areas.
Education Images/Universal Image

Boeing, which moved its headquarters to the city’s West Loop from Seattle back in 2001, announced in May that it would be moving to Arlington, Virginia — just outside of Washington, DC.

Caterpillar, the construction manufacturing giant, announced this summer that the company would be leaving Chicago’s north shore suburb of Deerfield in favor of the booming Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

According to the Chicago Police Department, there has been an 18% increase in robberies, a 28% jump in the number of burglaries, a 65% surge in thefts, and a 66% bump in motor vehicle thefts citywide since the start of the calendar year compared to 2021.

While there have been 15% fewer murders this year citywide compared to last year, the number of murders so far this year — 479 — is still 33% higher compared to three years ago.

Kempczinski also took aim at California Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing into law what he called a “terrible piece of policy” that would appoint a council to set wages for fast-food workers.



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