The world's favorite fast food joint is working hard to win over Millennials. With customers in their 20s and 30s flocking to fast-casual joints such as Chipotle and Five Guys, McDonald's has been making changes to bring those customers back. A few monumental changes include serving breakfast all day, removing artificial ingredients, and switching to cage-free eggs.
The fast food giant is hungry for more than Millennial customers. It wants to attract younger talent, too.
With the latest news from McDonald's HQ, the company has made a bold move to make the company a more appealing workplace to a younger work force. McDonald's has nearly sealed the deal to move its U.S. and global headquarters from the Chicago suburbs to the city proper. McDonald's is eyeing Oprah's former space at Harpo Studios in Chicago's West Loop, a neighborhood that's exploding with development. The location is blocks from Google's new Chicago office, a massive new WeWork location and other buzzed-about companies. USA Today called the West Loop "perhaps the hottest real estate corridor in the city."
If all goes according to plan, McDonald's will relocate in 2018. But, all its employees can't come with it. There simply won't be enough room to seat all 2,000 staff at the new 300,000-square-foot location downtown. And some might simply not want to leave the "safety" and familiarity of the suburbs, where the company has had roots since 1971. Their solution for less space and reluctant employees? McDonald's will be offering hundreds of director-level employees and above voluntary buyouts, Crain's Chicago Business reported. It's easy to read between the lines. By offering its more senior staff a painless and easy path to departure, McDonald's is opening the door for younger employees to come in.
The current McDonald's campus sits on 150 acres in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook. The office buildings and training center (aptly named Hamburger University) are surrounded by trees and ponds, making the entire campus isolated and secluded. Crain's spoke to Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, about McDonald's impending move. "When you work in a space as insulated as McDonald's headquarters," Calkins said, "surrounded by lawns and fences on a huge piece of land, it's hard to feel threatened by competitors and what's going on in the market. It doesn't foster a sense of urgency or competitive paranoia."