Why is McDonald’s CEO concerned about Chicago crime?

The Whole Story

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski at McDonald’s headquarters on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in the West Loop of Chicago. (Jean Marc-Giboux/AP Images for McDonald’s)

(NewsNation) — McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski says the business will remain in Chicago, despite concerns about crime and the challenge it presents in recruiting promising executives and new employees.

In a speech to the Economic Club of Chicago on Wednesday, Kempczinski said the city’s reputation has made it challenging to persuade corporate talent to relocate to Chicago. Other businesses, including Starbucks, have reported similar concerns. Several major companies, including Boeing and Caterpillar, have announced they’ll be moving their headquarters out of Chicago.

Who’s talking about this?

The right. Of the new outlets reporting this, 58 percent lean right, according to Ground News, a NewsNation partner that measures media bias.

  • The Blaze: McDonald’s CEO says Chicago leaders need to face the ‘facts’ that violent crimes are damaging city: ‘Our city is in crisis’
  • New York Post: McDonald’s CEO warns of soaring crime in Chicago: ‘Our city is in crisis’

Only 8% of news outlets that reported the news lean left, according to Ground News.

Is that really what happened?

What did Kempczinski say? In part:

“Given the nature of my job I travel around the U.S. I travel around the world and everywhere I go I’m confronted by the same question these days: What’s going on in Chicago? While it may wound our civic pride to hear it, there is a general sense out there that our city is in crisis. The truth is, it’s more difficult today for me to convince a promising McDonald’s executive to Chicago from one of our other offices than it was just a few years ago.  The truth is it’s more difficult for me to recruit a new employee to McDonald’s to join us in Chicago than it was in the past.”

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski

He went on to say that while others are leaving Chicago and Illinois, “McDonald’s is doubling down” and staying put.

“While others may talk about Chicago as being the Second City, I think it’s safe to say that for McDonald’s, the city of Chicago has always been our first city.”

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski

You can watch the full video and see for yourself here. NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” also reported on Kempczinski’s comments.

What’s another side of the story?

CNN, the only left-leaning news outlet to report the story, noted that Kempczinski also cited homelessness and drug use as impacting the restaurant chain’s Chicago stores.

“So we see in our restaurants, every single day, what’s happening in society at large.”

Statistics from the Chicago Police Department show robberies are up 18% and burglaries 28%, while theft is up a staggering 65%. On the flip side, murder and shooting incidents across the city are down this year. Overall crime, however, is up 38%.

Throughout Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s time in office, polls show crime has ranked as the No. 1 issue for Chicago voters.

The bottom line

Although downtown violence has made it harder for McDonald’s to recruit and relocate some employees, it has no plans to leave the city, which has been an important location to the brand since Ray Kroc opened his first McDonald’s in 1955 in the nearby suburb of Des Plaines.

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