McDonald’s CEO warns Chicago Mayor that soaring crime is leaving staff too terrified to return

247 News Around The World
247 News Around The World

The CEO of McDonald’s is speaking out about the crime crisis in Chicago and believes the lack of safety is keeping employees from returning to the fast food giant’s Windy City HQ in a warning to Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot. 

Chris Kempczinski spoke last Wednesday at the Economic Club of Chicago, where he says the violence has been a problem when trying to convince employees to come back.

He said: ‘Everywhere I go, I’m confronted by the same question: ‘What’s going on in Chicago? There is a general sense out there that our city is in crisis.’ 

Crime is up 37 percent from this point in 2021, according to the city’s own data. Murders and shootings are down double digits but thefts are up a shocking 64 percent. 

Although Kempczinki calls the city home and plans to stay, this isn’t the first time he has weighed in on the conversation about crime-riddled Chicago. 

Back in 2021, Kempczinski appeared to blame the parents of two children who were shot and killed at a McDonald’s drive-thru in the city in texts to Lightfoot which led to calls for his resignation by activists and Democratic politicians.

The CEO of McDonald’s Chris Kempczinski (pictured) is speaking out about the crime crisis in Chicago and believes the lack of safety is keeping employees from returning to the fast food giant’s Windy City HQ

Kempczinski spoke last Wednesday at the Economic Club of Chicago, where he says the violence has been a problem when trying to convince employees to come back

Kempczinski spoke last Wednesday at the Economic Club of Chicago, where he says the violence has been a problem when trying to convince employees to come back

Crime is up 37 percent from this point in 2021, according to the city's own data. Murders and shootings are down double digits but thefts are up a shocking 64 percent

Crime is up 37 percent from this point in 2021, according to the city’s own data. Murders and shootings are down double digits but thefts are up a shocking 64 percent

While Kempczinski is a registered Republican, his only major political donation in recent years was $2,500 to Joe Kennedy’s failed Senate run in Massachusetts in 2020, according to Restaurant Business Online.  

Kempczinski pledged to not only keep the golden arches headquartered in Chicago, but build a new innovation center. But he’s still worried about how safe it is, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

He said, ‘We see every single day in our restaurants what’s happening at society at large. 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.’ 

The company claims that it has a $2billion impact on Cook County, where Chicago is located, alone.  

Lightfoot did not respond to DailyMail.com request for comment but has praised the plan to build the innovation center.  

Lori Lightfoot did not respond to DailyMail.com request for comment but has praised McDonald's plan to build the innovation center

Lori Lightfoot did not respond to DailyMail.com request for comment but has praised McDonald’s plan to build the innovation center

Kempczinski faced calls to resign last November after text messages, which were sent in April to Lightfoot, were made public. 

He sent the texts after meeting with her and referred to shootings that took the children’s lives. Seven-year-old Jaslyn Adams, a black girl who was shot in a McDonald’s drive-through lane in April, and 13-year-old Adam Toledo, a Latino boy who was shot by Chicago police in March.

The CEO wrote: ‘With both, the parents failed those kids which I know is something you can’t say. Even harder to fix.’

The mayor sidestepped the CEO’s remark concerning the shootings in her reply, writing back to him: ‘Thanks, Chris. Great to see you in person. Such a great work space, and your folks were terrific. I said to Joe I would be happy to reach out to the operator to offer support. He and his team members have got to be traumatized. Terrible tragedy. Thanks again, Chris.’ 

The exchange was made public on social media in October 2021 following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from Michael Kessler, an American activist living in Canada, who said he was looking into an Oregon police matter and working with Chicago-based transparency group Lucy Parsons Lab.

The CEO of McDonald's Chris Kempczinski appeared to blame the parents of two children who were shot and killed in the city, which is experiencing a dramatic spike in violent crime

The CEO of McDonald’s Chris Kempczinski appeared to blame the parents of two children who were shot and killed in the city, which is experiencing a dramatic spike in violent crime

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, pictured, privately thanked Kempczinski in response to his text message, but publicly she disavowed his remarks

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, pictured, privately thanked Kempczinski in response to his text message, but publicly she disavowed his remarks

McDonald’s has also faced challenges amid the inflation crisis. Raising prices has taken a toll on US demand. It has meant the company’s revenue fell short of expectations in the second quarter. 

The Chicago burger giant said its revenue fell 3% to $5.72 billion in the April-June period. That was short of Wall Street’s forecast of $5.8 billion, according to analysts polled by FactSet.

Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, were up nearly 10% worldwide. That was higher than the 6.8% that analysts had expected.

But there were double-digit declines for comparable stores in China, where restaurants were closed temporarily throughout the country for most of the quarter.

U.S. same-store sales rose 3.7%. McDonald’s said most of that increase was due to higher prices, with store traffic remaining flat.

Chief Financial Officer Kevin Ozan said McDonald’s is seeing some trade-down to cheaper items and lower sales of combo meals in the U.S., particularly among lower-income consumers. 

But for McDonald's, raising prices has taken a toll on US demand. It has meant the company's revenue fell short of expectations in the second quarter

But for McDonald’s, raising prices has taken a toll on US demand. It has meant the company’s revenue fell short of expectations in the second quarter

The number of customers per sale has also declined from the height of the pandemic, when locked-down families would often pick up large orders at the drive-thru.

Ozan said year-over-year U.S. price increases in the 8% to 9% range will likely continue through the remainder of the year as McDonald’s compensates for its higher costs. McDonald’s expects food and paper costs to be up 12% to 14% for the full year, while its labor costs are up 10%.

CEO Chris Kempczinski said McDonald’s has benefited from another form of trading down, with higher-income Americans choosing on some days to hit a McDonald’s rather than more expensive sit-down restaurants.

‘Even though we’re pushing through pricing, the consumer is tolerating it well,’ Kempczinski said.

Last Wednesday, Kempczinski said: ‘As I look out at 2023, I see more challenges. We are heading to probably hopefully a minor recession in the U.S., probably a more significant one in Europe.’ 

Chicago's richest billionaire Ken Griffin is the mystery buyer of a record breaking $106.9 million waterfront estate. Griffin shared news of the company's Florida relocation in a letter to employees on Thursday

Aerial view of the Citadel Center (completed in 2003), in The Loop, downtown Chicago. About 1,000 people work at its Chicago headquarters, and it is unclear how many will be making the move south

Chicago’s richest billionaire Ken Griffin is the mystery buyer of a record breaking $106.9 million waterfront estate. The CEO recently moved his company’s headquarters and family to Miami. ‘I am excited to have recently moved to Miami with my family and look forward to rapidly expanding Citadel in a city so rich in diversity and abounding with energy,’ he said in an announcement to employees on Thursday

Aircraft giant Boeing moved from Seattle to Chicago in 2001, and this May announced it was moving again, this time to Arlington, Virginia

Aircraft giant Boeing moved from Seattle to Chicago in 2001, and this May announced it was moving again, this time to Arlington, Virginia

Hedge fund Citadel and airplane manufacturer Boeing have both announced plans to move out of Chicago recently. 

Chicago’s richest billionaire Ken Griffin bought a record-breaking $106.9 million waterfront estate in Miami, Florida, making it the city’s most expensive listing to date. 

The billionaire businessman founded the massive hedge fund Citadel in Chicago in 1990, and, Citadel Securities in 2002. Griffin, however, is originally from Central and South Florida, having been born in Daytona Beach, and raised in Boca Raton.

The move back to the Sunshine State comes only months after Griffin moved his global securities firm’s headquarters out of crime-ridden Chicago. The company had been located in the Illinois area for the last three decades, but left due to escalating crime and violence in the state.

Citadel is just one of several major companies that have moved their headquarters out of the Chicago area.

Construction manufacturer, Caterpillar is moving its Deerfield offices to the Dallas-Forth Worth area. 

Aircraft giant Boeing moved from Seattle to Chicago in 2001, and this May announced it was moving again, this time to Arlington, Virginia, NBC5 reported. 

Post source: The List

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