Recently, I had the very special privilege of taking a behind the scenes tour of the new McDonald’s headquarters in the West Loop, thanks to an invitation from the Chicagoland Black McDonald’s Owners Association (BMOA). The new headquarters, on the site that once housed the Oprah’s Harpo Studios, fits right in with the industrial feel of the West Loop of Chicago. However once you enter the building you realize that you are not at Harpo anymore.
From the moment you enter the building, there is a quiet serenity that overtakes you. There are large TV monitors with McDonald’s advertisements along the wall, and a few places for your to sit and the famous drink station that I fell in love with at Hamburger University Years ago. There is also a large hanging sculpture hanging from the ceiling made entirely of McDonald’s kitchen equipment. However, the feel of this place is a lot different from the Hamburger University where I attend some leadership trainings for my church.
Before I get into all things McDonald’s the memorabilia, the wall of history and the ground floor McDonald’s with International menu offerings, let me just talk about the work atmosphere. For a person who has worked in the classic cubicle and the office with a window and one without, to a hospital inpatient station enclosed by glass, this is a dream location to work. Actually, there are no offices at this location.
The 9 story building houses open workspaces, some non traditional bar height workspaces and is equipped with a quiet room for those who may want to get away to work in a quiet area. There are also conference rooms, a test kitchen an auditorium equipped with outlets where workers can plug in phones or laptops for note taking during town hall style meetings. There are drink stations throughout the facility serving hot and iced coffee or your favorite fountain beverage. Their is also spaces where employees can purchase food without going down to the first floor restaurant. The 9th floor includes a rooftop bar and a beautiful fresh air patio that is included with comfortable furniture and relaxing city views.
The smaller conference rooms are completely state-of-the art and have large projection screens, plenty of outlets, windows and comfortable seating. It was definitely not your traditional conference room. There was plenty of window seating, so no more standing at the back of the conference room. The conference room we were in as well as the others we passed on the way were walled by glass. While there was not a lot of activity going on while we were in the conference room I am sure that they are all probably sound proof.
What would it be like to decide which space you wanted to work in on your way to work? How cool would it be to be able to discover different international offerings McDonald’s has on the menu? How convenient would it be to not have to run to the nearest Starbuck’s or coffee house when you can walk to the end of the hall and grab coffee or your favorite fountain beverage? Honestly, this trip had me considering putting in an application for a corporate position with McDonald’s.
While we were there we were also graced with the presence of a long time McDonald’s employee, Christa Small, Sr. Director of US Operations Business Services. She talked about her journey of starting in a local suburban Chicago restaurant, working summers as a teen, then working summers through college to graduating college and becoming a corporate employee. Not only did she share her professional journey, she shared some of her personal journey a journey that showed how the company supported her and her family during some difficult times.
We also watched a video about the great work that the Chicagoland BMOA does in and for the community. Specifically, the video showed the outreach efforts BMOA does during the Thanksgiving season. Not only did they provide a truck load of turkeys, they sent families home with everything needed to make a complete Thanksgiving meal. For me the video had me in tears, because it showed how appreciative the people were for the things the owners association did for the community. I am thankful to the Chicagoland BMOA for the opportunity to tour the new headquarters but more than that to catch a glimpse of the heart and soul of the company, the part of the golden arches that we don’t get to see everyday.
This is only the behind the scenes look at what I was able to experience during the tour. Stay tuned for my personal experience and see my day of working in the McDOnald’s kitchen.
Be Blessed Be Fabulous,