McDonald's to move HQ to site used for Oprah show
IN A convergence of two of the United States' biggest cultural giants, McDonald's is moving into the old home of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
The talk-show queen's production empire left the Harpo Studios complex near downtown Chicago in December, heading to Los Angeles.
The property will now have new life, morphing from the epicentre of influential daytime television to the standard-bearer of American fast cuisine.
McDonald's plans to "transform the space" into its new corporate headquarters, as well as a new home for the Hamburger University training centre, according to a company statement.
"Today's announcement is about more than just a new location for us," said McDonald's chair Rick Hernandez. "It is an important investment in our people," he added, speaking of moving "our business forward for many years to come".
Winfrey sold the facility to a real-estate developer two years ago. But her mark in the area is unmistakable, after more than two decades spent producing her popular talk show from the site in an area known as West Loop.
Former Chicago mayor Richard Daley even named a short stretch of the street, in front of Harpo Studios, Oprah Winfrey Way.
The current headquarters for McDonald's is in a Chicago suburb. The move to the trendy, restaurant-rich West Loop is part of the company's efforts to become a more modern operation.
"This world-class environment will continue to drive business momentum by getting us even closer to customers, encouraging innovation and ensuring great talent is excited about where they work," said McDonald's chief executive Steve Easterbrook.
Slumping sales led the company to install him as CEO last year. He made a number of changes, including adding an all-day breakfast to the menu.
Those changes have led to three straight quarters of growth.