The relocation to one of the trendiest parts of the central city from one of the leafier corners of suburbia; the evolving menu, which is headed toward featuring such ingredients as cage-free eggs and fresh beef; a revamping of not only its restaurants and the customer experience but of its very understanding of who its clientele is — there’s a lot going on these days at McDonald’s Corp., as a recent check-in by Chicago magazine lays bare.
Undertaking as much change as it has under British-born CEO Steve Easterbrook without alienating its core customer has the company walking a bit of a tightrope — and, with its Dow
up 24% in the past year and on a virtually uninterrupted multiyear run, it’s a high-wire act, indeed.
Here’s the president of McDonald’s domestic operations, Chris Kempczinski, indicating that the company’s alacrity is not mere impatience:
‘This is the reality of the world we live in. Customers are not waiting around for McDonald’s to catch up with what their needs are. We need to make it so McDonald’s flexes to their needs instead of asking the customer to flex to ours.’
Kempczinski joins Chicago magazine in pointing to the tear-down and rebuilding of what is probably the chain’s most visible location (alongside its Store No. 1 in suburban Des Plaines, Ill.) — the so-called Rock ’n’ Roll McDonald’s, in Chicago’s River North section — as a sort of metaphor.
Reports the award-winning city magazine: “In [place of a kitschy tourist magnet] will rise a solar-powered modernist structure designed by Carol Ross Barney that looks more like a peace garden than a burger joint. Instead of music memorabilia, you’ll find living plant walls. Replacing its iconic yellow arches will be banks of birch trees.”
The home page of the architecture firm’s website features an illustrative rendering of the under-construction McDonald’s showpiece restaurant, which Chicago magazine says is expected to inform the designs of future McDonald’s locations and store renovations all across the country.