McDonald’s Corp. is apparently moving back to Chicago.
The Oak Brook, Ill.-based giant is moving its headquarters to Chicago’s West Loop, into a structure to be built on Oprah Winfrey’s former Harpo Studios campus, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.
Such a move would return the company to the city, 45 years after it moved to its sprawling suburban headquarters from Chicago’s Loop.
McDonald’s has reportedly been exploring a move away from its Oak Brook campus for some time.
When asked about a potential headquarters move at the company’s annual shareholder meeting last week, CEO Steve Easterbrook said McDonald’s “is committed to leaving no stone unturned.”
McDonald’s in fact had a deal last year to move into the Prudential Plaza but halted the deal before its completion, according to Crain’s.
Easterbrook earlier this year told workers at a town hall meeting that some buildings on the company’s campus are in need of repair and are becoming more expensive to maintain, Crain’s reported in March.
McDonald’s headquarters campus is massive, with an on-site hotel for visiting managers and franchisees and others who attend the company’s famous Hamburger University. It is uncertain how many employees would make a move to a new downtown headquarters, or what would happen with the old campus.
A headquarters move would symbolize McDonald’s recent efforts to consider everything in its bid to turn the chain’s sagging fortunes around.
The company has cut $500 million in general and administrative spending. It cut 225 jobs. It reorganized its global management structure, as well as its US organization. While it decided against selling real estate, it has decided to refranchise company-owned units.
The chain also introduced all-day breakfast, overcoming longtime objections and generating sales growth in the process. And it is testing fresh beef at locations in Dallas in what could be a monumental move for a chain that has long used frozen beef patties.