<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Inc Well | Small Business Advice for Chicago Entrepreneurs]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/inc-well http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sat, 28 Feb 2015 06:45:27 -0600 Sat, 28 Feb 2015 06:45:27 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Survey Shows Majority of Support Staff Overhear Confidential Conversations]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 12:55:31 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/janitor_generic_getty.jpg

In the office, knowledge is power.

A new survey suggests that many company employees' jobs could be on the line, all because members of the support staff have overheard some incriminating conversations.

The Chicago-based career services site CareerBuilder conducted a national online survey through Harris Poll and asked 500 support staff employees about the conversations they have overheard. Those in the survey identified themselves as custodians, janitors, mailroom attendants, security guards, receptionists, facilities maintenance workers, housekeepers, administrative assistants and maintenance workers.

The results showed a staggering 11 percent of support staff workers have stumbled upon information that could cause someone to be fired, and 53 percent have overheard confidential conversations at work. The information leakage also comes from pieces of evidence left out in the open or in the trash can.

The people included in the survey also offered anecdotes about the things they have found or overheard. More than half of them -- 62 percent -- have heard other employees complaining about the boss or their co-workers. Others have picked up on conversations with more personal themes, like romantic relationships between co-workers (20 percent) or setting up another co-worker for failure (11 percent).

Among the snippets of personal information and incriminating evidence found in the trash -- or even in full view on a desk -- were a list of employee salaries, a photo of a partially dressed co-worker, an old love letter from one co-worker to another, a predetermination request for a breast augmentation procedure, a pregnancy test, a letter from the boss's mistress and a full set of keys for the entire facility.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hot Doug's to Return to Chicago for One Day]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:50:02 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/doug+sohn.jpg

It has been nearly five months since the beloved Hot Doug’s closed its doors for good, ending an encased meat era in Chicago, but it appears the famed hot dog stand will return for one day, and one day only.

The Chicago Tribune reports Hot Doug’s owner Doug Sohn will serve his meaty sensations once again on May 16 for Paulina Meat Market’s Hot Doug’s Appreciation Day.

The Lakeview meat market at Lincoln and Cornelia avenues, which once produced a number of sausages for Sohn, will bring back their Hot Doug’s specialties and serve some of the sandwiches that made the former Avondale eatery a staple in Chicago.

Sohn told the Tribune he won’t be cooking the sandwiches, but will be “designing the sausage” and “chit-chatting” with guests.

For the diehard fans who once inked their Hot Doug’s love with a promise of free sandwiches for life, well, that offer apparently stands on this special day.

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[5 Ways to Ensure Your Employees Like Their Job]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 12:24:01 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Generic+Happy+People.jpg

Let’s face it, not everyone is in love with their job.

In fact, less than 25 percent of all employees equate their current position to their ideal job. Though this might come as little surprise, companies should take note if they wish to retain top talent.

Not convinced? Consider this: More than one-third of employees browse for jobs and are open to the idea interviewing if the right opportunity arose.

In a recent survey, Addison Group shared insights into the minds of employees, offering companies a better understand ing of how to create a happier workplace.

Here are some of their findings:

Employees want higher salaries. Like it or not, just shy of 50 percent of all employees would leave their current job simply because they are not making enough money. Employees feeling undercompensated will seek out new opportunities that promise higher salaries. As a result, companies should strive to be competitive with salaries in their market if they wish to retain top talent. It’s also important to manage expectations with employees to ensure they understand an organization’s salaries are comparable to the rest of the market.

Employees are hungry to learn. More than 40 percent of all workers note their ideal company provides them with internal training opportunities. For example, take today’s big tech companies – they go beyond just teaching employees how to be experts in their fields, providing courses such as “Innovation 101” and “How to Have Better Career Conversations,” to enhance their overall professional skillset. Invest in your employees and your company will reap the benefits.

Younger employees are eager to lead. Not only are a majority of millennials interested in taking on management positions (82 percent), but also half believe they need just three years to do so. Employees demonstrating leadership are valuable assets – they’ll also be especially eager to move up the ladder. Provide employees with a roadmap that spells out exactly what’s required to reach their goals and offer regular feedback and touch points along the way.

Employees seek rewards for their hard work. Half of all workers believe they should receive a raise once a year. That number jumps to two-thirds of employees if you’re looking at Gen X and Baby Boomers. Employees want to know their hard work is being recognized, and most often respond to monetary rewards. To ensure employees feel valued, companies should consider how to reward their employees monetarily for a job well done. If you’re not able to offer raises and bonuses, consider other incentives like additional vacation days to keep your workforce happy.

Employees want supportive and communicative managers. Over two-thirds of all workers say their ideal manager provides honest feedback. Additionally, half of these workers want a manager that helps them solve work-related problems or conflicts. Workplaces fostering an open communication and supportive environment allow workers to feel comfortable and confident in their roles. Make a point to share open feedback with employees, ensuring they know their success is important to the organization and their manager. Celebrate all wins, big or small, to build a happier, more productive workplace.

It is important for companies to make the effort to create a positive workplace. Not only does a happy environment increase employee retention rates, but it improves productivity as well. As the saying goes, it doesn’t feel like work if you love your job.

Kelli Lieder is a recruiter within the administrative practice at Chicago-based Addison Group. Addison Group is a leading provider of professional staffing and search services with offices nationwide and specialized practices in administration & HR, finance & accounting, healthcare and IT.

<![CDATA[Illinois Companies Rank in Fortune's Most Admired]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 17:45:53 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/179*120/149141019.jpg

Eighteen Illinois companies made the cut to be named among Fortune magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies" of 2015, three of which boast spots in the top 50.

Those considered the best of the best include Boeing at no. 27, Caterpillar at no. 28 and McDonald’s at no. 46. All three ranked first in “global competitiveness” in their respective industries.

Boeing came in first for the aerospace and defense industry category with revenues reaching $90.8 billion last year.

Caterpillar, which recently announced its global headquarters will stay in Peoria, ranked highest in long-term investment value, quality of products/services and global competitiveness.

Although McDonald's ranks high on the list, the world's largest hamburger chain's no. 46 ranking is down from its previous rank at 22. Their 2015 spot is the lowest they have sat in the seven years they've appeared in the top 50.

Fortune says “consumer criticism over the company’s menu offerings, as well as a series of protests by labor rights activists over minimum wage” contributed to its lower ranking. However, the magazine says “with CEO Don Thompson’s recent ouster, McDonald’s is now tasked with a major turnaround.”

Apple took the top spot on the list for the eighth year in a row, becoming the first company to hit more than $700 billion in market value. Google, Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon.com and Starbucks also place in the top 5.

Other Illinois companies that did not place in the top 50 but are ranked high in their respective industries include:

  • Abbott
  • AbbVie
  • Allstate
  • Archer Daniels Midland
  • Deere
  • Exelon
  • Hyatt
  • Illinois Tool Works
  • Jones Lang LaSalle
  • Mondelez International
  • Motorola Solutions
  • Northern Trust
  • State Farm
  • W.W. Grainger
  • Walgreens Boots Alliance

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Chicken Selects Return to Menu Nationwide]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 09:58:16 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mcdonalds+chicken+selects.jpg

Watch out, Chicken McNuggets. Soon there will be a new breaded chicken dish in the house.

Oak Brook-based McDonald's announced Wednesday that Chicken Selects will return to menus nationwide next month.

"The Chicken Selects will make a national return in early March and be sold as an order with three pieces. We look forward to bringing back this customer favorite made with chicken tenderloin," Terri Hickey, a McDonald's spokesperson, said.

McDonald's describes Chicken Selects as "crispy strips of all white chicken breast, premium dipping sauces...this is luxury lunching."

The menu item will only be available nationally for a limited time, but markets will have the option to keep them on the menu if they want, Hickey said.

Chicken Selects were first introduced in 1998 and were pulled from the menu in February 2013.

The menu item previously came with a variety of dipping sauces to choose from, including chipotle barbeque, creamy ranch, hot habanero, honey mustard, hot mustard, spicy buffalo, sweet chili, sweet 'n sour, honey and tangy barbeque.

The fast food company's announcement comes just two months after company officials said they were planning on trimming their menus. This decision was prompted by a decline in U.S. sales that many attribute to McDonald's unhealthy image and an increasingly health conscious society.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Researcher Sees Big Business in Spider Silk]]> Mon, 16 Feb 2015 11:10:30 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC-Spider-Silk.jpg Utah State University is looking to turn the science of spider silk into a booming business. Researchers are now turning the stronger than steel material into a product for market. Mike Anderson from NBC station KSL reports.

Photo Credit: KSL]]>
<![CDATA[Valentine's Day Survey Offers Insight Into Office Romances]]> Fri, 13 Feb 2015 13:04:31 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/82981320.jpg

We found love – in an office space?

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a new survey by CareerBuilder found that 37 percent of workers dated a co-worker and 30 percent of office romances led to marriage.
Harris Poll conducted the national survey online from Nov. to Dec. 2014, using a sample of 3,056 full-time, private sector workers from various industries.
When it comes to where office romances begin, "Happy hour" ranks highest at 12 percent, late nights on the jobs and lunches tied at 11 percent, and chance meetings outside of work at 10 percent. “Love at first sight” was the case for 9 percent of surveyed workers.
Thirty-six percent of workers said they kept their office romances secret, despite 25 percent accidently running into other co-workers while on a date with a co-worker.
Call it risky business: 25 percent dated someone in a higher position and nearly 1 in 5 said they had an affair with a married co-worker.
Twenty-three percent of surveyed workers said someone’s job title influences whether they would date them. Thirty-nine percent – with 52 percent of women and 28 percent of men surveyed – said someone who “doesn’t work on a consistent basis” would be the most “undateable.” Other work-related “undateable” traits include someone who has already dated another co-worker (25 percent), travels extensively for work (21 percent), works nights (8 percent), earns less money (6 percent) and works weekends (6 percent).
Not all findings were lovey-dovey, however, as 5 percent left a job position due to an office romance not working out.

Photo Credit: Tooga]]>
<![CDATA[Expedia Buying Rival Orbitz for Approximately $1.33 Billion]]> Thu, 12 Feb 2015 12:28:35 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/expedia+logo.jpg

Expedia bought rival online travel site Orbitz, which is based in Chicago, for approximately $1.33 billion, the companies announced Thursday. The move adds to the stable of brands Expedia has recently acquired in to extend its reach and keep pace in the fiercely competitive travel-booking industry.

Expedia's acquisition of Orbitz is its second major deal in the past month as the industry continues to consolidate. Expedia announced the $280 million acquisition of another rival, Travelocity, in late January. It also follows the company's July announcement that it was buying Wotif.com for $658 million.

By bringing Orbitz into the fold, Expedia gains access to the Orbitz namesake brand, as well as brands like CheapTickets and HotelClub. Expedia's portfolio already consists of nearly a dozen brands such as Hotels.com and Hotwire.

Speculation swirled last month that Orbitz might be bought when a media report said that the company was considering selling itself. An Orbitz spokesman declined to comment at the time.

Expedia, based in Bellevue, Washington, said Thursday that it will pay $12 per share, a 25 percent premium to Orbitz' closing price of $9.62 Wednesday.

Shares of Orbitz Worldwide Inc. soared $2.05, or 21.3 percent, to $11.67 in morning trading. Expedia's stock surged $9.23, or 11.8 percent, to $87.45.

Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said during a conference call that Orbitz was an attractive acquisition option in part because of its highly recognized brands and loyal customers. Expedia also likes Orbitz' loyalty program, with plans to invest in it and grow it further.

Khosrowshahi, along with Chief Financial Officer Mark Okerstrom, said that the deal will help Expedia better compete for customers in a sector that is constantly seeing new players emerge.

"We believe Orbitz can add to scale and add to our ability to run a more efficient machine," Khosrowshahi said.

Okerstrom said that these types of acquisitions are important, as it provides a way to avoid being overtaken by rivals like Google and TripAdvisor.

Expedia is also up against competitors like Priceline Group, which owns sites like Priceline, Booking.com, Kayak and OpenTable. And there are new pressures from sites like airfare search Hipmunk and last-minute deal site HotelTonight.

The Expedia executives said that they are very optimistic they won't run into any major resistance from regulators on the Orbitz deal, with Khosrowshahi noting that consolidation is natural in a highly fragmented marketplace.

The boards of both companies have approved the deal, but it still requires a nod from the majority of Orbitz shareholders. Expedia, which anticipates $75 million in savings from the buyout, said it is currently unable to project when the transaction will close.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Citi]]>
<![CDATA[Startup's Logo Prompts Concerns From MLB, Cubs]]> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 12:18:27 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/205*120/cubs-fans-w-101.JPG

The Chicago Cubs iconic “win” flag has been the topic of some discussion after a startup applied for a trademark featuring a similar “W,” a move that caught the attention of Major League Baseball.

WalletHub, a financial services website run by Washington, D.C.-based Evolution Finance, applied for a trademark in 2012 for its logo, a white “W” on a green background. The application, however, was opposed by MLB over concerns the image could be mistaken for trademarks by the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals.

While the move isn’t uncommon for trademark applications, WalletHub posted details about the two-year negotiation with MLB on the company’s website, calling MLB “bullies.”

“The pure hypocrisy of MLB’s case is nevertheless hard to swallow,” WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou wrote in a blog post on the site. “The Nationals are claiming infringement upon an old block-letter logo no Washington team has used in over 50 years, while their signature curly W logo is basically identical to the Walgreens logo. And the Cubs are alleging encroachment of a block-W flag that hardly anyone associates with them and could just as easily be confused with the fan regalia of someone from the University of Washington or the University of Wisconsin.”

WalletHub claims there are more than 1,000 “W” trademarks that exist, many similar to others.

The MLB’s argument isn’t necessarily over the logo itself, but rather how it is used and when.

MLB spokesman Matt Bourne said in a statement that MLB “has been engaging in conversations with Evolution Finance about how its mark can be used and registered so as to avoid confusion with the MLB marks.”

“We believe we are close to a resolution and are interested in resolving this matter amicably,” Bourne said.

A Cubs spokesman declined to comment.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Developer Pitches Northern Illinois Casino]]> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 10:59:11 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/slot-machine-generic.jpg

Just where will a new casino be built, Kenosha or Waukegan?

The Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin and Hard Rock International on Tuesday sweetened their pitch to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, offering $220 million towards a new Milwaukee Bucks arena if the Republican governor changes his mind and approves plans for a casino in Kenosha.

"This proposal eliminates the need for state taxpayer funds to build a new arena," according to Tribal chairman Gary Besaw.

The new arena is estimated to cost perhaps $500 million. The Bucks have threatened to leave Milwaukee by 2017 if they don’t have a new venue.The BMO Harris Bradley Center, where the Bucks currently play, opened in 1988.

Walker last month rejected a casino proposal that supporters claim will create 3,000 jobs and more than 7,000 indirect jobs. His final decision on that proposal is due Feb. 19.

Walker's administration secretary late Tuesday shot down the latest offer by the tribe and Hard Rock.

"I don't believe these are genuine offers that they can fulfill," Mike Huebsch said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

But the developers suggested to reporters that if Wisconsin is not interested in the deal, officials in Illinois could be.

"We received calls on Monday after the governor's decision. From elected officials and specific real estate owners in state of Illinois," said Jim Allen, Hard Rock's chairman.

"I believe that facility is going to be built, whether it's on the Wisconsin side - which we are sincerely hoping the governor will reconsider, or on the Illinois side of the border. It's going to happen," he said. 

Before any casino is built in Waukegan there would have to be legislative steps taken in Springfield.

Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Target Employee's Good Deed Goes Viral]]> Mon, 09 Feb 2015 14:35:51 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000010970285_1200x675_396362307687.jpg A Target employee's act of kindness goes viral after a shopper snaps a touching photo. Eileen Park from NBC station WNCN reports.]]> <![CDATA[Suburban Chocolate Company Makes Way Into Grammy Gift Bags]]> Sun, 08 Feb 2015 13:08:13 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/173*120/chocolates.jpg

A suburban chocolate company makes its way to Los Angeles for the 57th Grammy awards show Sunday night.

Chocolatines, which is based in Schaumburg, is gifting one of their products to the Grammy gift bags for presenters and performers. The company's contribution is its single-origin chocolate collection, valued at $75.

The Grammy gift bags are each worth thousands of dollars. This year's swag includes items from Carr Winery, Halo Natural Pet Food, Sean John, California Good Clothing and Reset Yourself, among many others. The gift lounge, available to the stars backstage, also includes several high-priced gifts, such as fashion headwear from New Era, velour track suits from Sean John, Gibson guitars and a trip through the Canadian Rockies by rail.

The gifts are only available for the performers and presenters of the awards, which this year includes Madonna, Ariana Grande, Eric Church, AC/DC, Sam Smith, Miranda Lambert and host LL Cool J.

For Chocolatines, this isn't the first time the company has the chance to mingle with celebrities. They have also made it into the Oscars gift bags five times.

The gifts are provided by companies to promote their brands as well as to thank the performers and presenters for their roles in the show. L.A.-based marketing company Distinctive Assets organizes the gift bags.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Auctions Off Bottle of Big Mac Special Sauce]]> Wed, 04 Feb 2015 03:02:34 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mcdonalds+sign+new+1.jpg

A Big Mac may only cost a few dollars at McDonald’s, but when it comes to the fast food chain’s Big Mac Special Sauce, things get pricey fast. 

McDonald’s Australia has apparently decided to auction off the first of 200 bottles of their “legendary” sauce on eBay and bidders are emptying more than just their pockets for a chance to purchase the limited-edition bottle.

“For too long Big Mac Special Sauce has been trapped in a beautiful, delicious burger – now we’ve set it free!” the auction page states. “This bottle is #1 of only 200 being produced worldwide, and they won’t be sold in restaurants.”

By Tuesday morning bids had reached nearly $18,000 with more than seven days left to bid.

As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, 135 bids had been placed for the 500-milliliter bottle, the highest being $23,100 (AU).

The world’s largest hamburger chain said 100 percent of the auction sale price will go to the Australian branch of Ronald McDonald House Charities.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Businesses Make Money from Blizzard]]> Mon, 02 Feb 2015 18:29:32 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP392701320780.jpg

While the Feb. 1 blizzard shut down many businesses across the city on Monday, some businesses were booming from the clean-up effort.

Jersey Hall of Lincoln Towing in Ravenswood said he has been rescuing buried cars in 18-hour shifts the last few days and called the boost in business "a late Christmas gift."

"There are more stranded cars than cars driving around, for example. It's bad out there. It's really bad," Hall said.

Bad is good for people like Hall, however. Don Johnson of D & E Industrial Services has also seen an uptick in his business. He said his phone has been ringing non-stop with requests to clear residential parking lots along the lakeshore.

"To make money off of things that cause other people a little bit of trouble, but that's what it's all about around here," Johnson said.

For other businesses, the workload has become too immense. Rodrigo Alcala, who has been fielding requests for plow services via an app called "Plowz," said he has had so many requests he had to start turning them down.

Not everyone is cashing in from the Super Bowl storm, however. Art Van Furniture, which has six stores throughout the Chicago area, offered full refunds for customers who bought furniture on Jan. 1, 2, 3 and 17 after the company promised those customers a refund if it snowed more than 3 inches on Super Bowl Sunday.

The furniture store will refund $2 million to 1,900 customers in March, according to store manager Rick Cote. The customer with the biggest refund will receive $16,000.

"It's our customers who win," Cote said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Suburban Families Pay With Lovin' at McDonalds]]> Mon, 02 Feb 2015 17:52:33 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/217*120/56857245.jpg

Unsuspecting McDonald's customers from suburban Chicago were shocked when they learned they could pay for their meal with "lovin'" and their reactions were featured in the fast food chain's touching Super Bowl commercial.

"Honestly we did not notice anything when we walked in and when we got up to oder and pay she said 'Your payment will be showing some love,'" said customer Judy Nagel-Conley.

Nagel-Conley had to tell the cashier what she loved about her son. She said "his compassion for other people," to much applause.

"I was very excited because he's an awesome kid and it was very easy to think of something," she said.

Another suburban family said they had a similar experience after being asked to "hug it out" instead of pay for their meal. But one family member's smile took front and center in the McDonald's commercial.

"I was nervous and my dad hugged me," said Grace Ramsburg.

The Ramsburg family said they were overjoyed with the news.

"[Grace's] smile is contagious," said her mother Holly Ramsburg. "You can't forget about it."

McDonald's annonunced plans last week to give customers a chance to earn a cheeseburger for calling their mother. Or fist bumping a fry cook. Or just passing along good vibes.

Customers who enter participating McDonald's restaurants between Feb. 2 and Feb. 14 will be selected at random and told they could pay for their meal with an act of lovin' instead of money, according to a statement from McDonald's. 

The newly accepted form of currency -- called "Pay with Lovin' " -- comes just in time for Valentine's Day and is part of the Oak Brook-based company's new campaign to emphasize the "love" in its long-running "I'm Lovin' It" slogan.

"McDonald's is in a unique position to bring a little more lovin' to our customers," said Deborah Wahl, chief marketing officer for McDonald's USA. "We're on a journey to change the relationship and conversation and 'Pay with Lovin' ' is a direct way for us to engage with our customers. We believe that a little more Lovin' can change a lot."

The new payment method begins Feb. 2 and applies between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. at select McDonald's stores.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Target to Open 15 New Stores in 2015]]> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 12:13:08 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/TARGET10.jpg

Target plans to open 15 stores this year with an emphasis on urban locations.

The company will open eight TargetExpress stores, six regular-format stores, and a CityTarget in Boston.
Target had previously announced the openings of TargetExpress locations in San Francisco, San Diego, and St. Paul, Minnesota, and said Monday it will open two stores in the Washington, D.C., area and one in Chicago.
The company opened its first TargetExpress store in its home town of Minneapolis in July. The stores are smaller and carry merchandise tailored to cities where they are located. CityTarget stores are also smaller than typical locations and focus on more portable items for shoppers who don't have cars. The company currently has eight such stores.
Target said late last year that it would close 11 stores by Feb. 1, the end of its fiscal year, in smaller towns like Carrolton, Texas; Bay City, Illinois and Lithonia, Georgia. During 2014 the company opened 16 stores and closed 12. It currently has 1,790 stores in the U.S.
The company is shutting all of its 133 Canadian locations after a disastrous entry into the new market just two years ago, saying last month that it did not foresee a profit there until at least 2021. It is taking a related $5.4 billion charge in the fourth quarter.
Shares of Target Corp. were unchanged at $73.61 in afternoon trading Monday.

Photo Credit: Target Corp. ]]>
<![CDATA[Snow Means Free Furniture for Some Art Van Customers]]> Mon, 02 Feb 2015 11:17:40 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago-snow-diggingout-cars-462637080.jpg

Super Bowl Sunday turned out to be costly for Art Van Furniture in Chicago.

The company’s “Let It Snow” promotion offered refunds to customers who bought furniture on Jan. 1, 2, 3 or 17 if it snowed at least 3 inches on Super Bowl Sunday.

Unfortunately for Art Van, but to the delight of many customers, the Chicago area saw a historic blizzard Sunday, making it the snowiest Feb. 1 the city has ever seen.

Between late Saturday and 6 a.m. Monday, 19.3 inches of snowfall was recorded at O'Hare International Airport, where the city's weather is officially recorded. There was 16.2 inches of snow on Sunday alone.

While the furniture company said it is waiting for official snow totals to be certified by the National Weather Service before they announce the refunds to customers, Art Van spokeswoman Diane Charles said they’re congratulating the nearly 2,000 participants.

Store manager Rick Cote said the company still needs certification from its insurer Lloys of London, but total refunds are estimated at about $2 million. The company has six stores in the Chicago area.

"It's a win-win situation," Cote said. "We love our Chicago customers and it was a very fun thing to do so those customers that shopped with us those four days, they're going to benefit from that."

Those who participated are expected to get a notification Tuesday and could see their refunds by March, Charles said.

The promotion also took place in Toledo, Ohio and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Offers Option to "Pay with Lovin'" in Chicago Area]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:37:31 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/217*120/56857245.jpg

McDonald's plans you a chance to earn a cheeseburger for calling your mother. Or fist bumping a fry cook. Or just passing along good vibes. 

Select McDonald's customers in participating restaurants nationwide will soon get the chance to pocket their cash and pay for a meal with "lovin'" instead.

Customers who enter participating McDonald's restaurants between Feb. 2 and Feb. 14 will be selected at random and told they could pay for their meal with an act of lovin' instead of money, according to a statement from McDonald's. Acts of lovin' include anything from a friendly fist bump with an employee on duty to calling a loved one on the phone. 

The newly accepted form of currency -- called "Pay with Lovin' " -- comes just in time for Valentine's Day and is part of the Oak Brook-based company's new campaign to emphasize the "love" in its long-running "I'm Lovin' It" slogan.

"McDonald's is in a unique position to bring a little more lovin' to our customers," said Deborah Wahl, chief marketing officer for McDonald's USA. "We're on a journey to change the relationship and conversation and 'Pay with Lovin' ' is a direct way for us to engage with our customers. We believe that a little more Lovin' can change a lot."

The new payment method begins Feb. 2 and applies between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. at select McDonald's stores.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Midwest Dominates Redbox Survey of Most Romantic Cities]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 12:46:20 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Redbox+Kiosk.jpg

The Midwest is the place to be for romantic movie-watching this Valentine's Day, according to a new survey that ranked the most romantic cities in the country based on movie rentals.

Oakbrook Terrace-based Redbox tracked the number of romantic movie titles checked out in cities across the U.S. and ranked them based on the number. The top 10 cities all reside in the Midwest, with Green Bay, Wis., taking the No. 1 spot.

Green Bay was followed by Evansville, Ind.; Lansing, Mich.; Mankato, Minn.; Zanesville, Ohio; Ames, Iowa; Rochester, Minn.; Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, Mich.; Toledo, Ohio; and Lima, Ohio.

The Midwest was deemed more romantic than all other regions in the U.S., according to the survey, which identified the top states as Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa.

The survey results also named "The Notebook" as the "most romantic movie of all time," followed by "Titanic" and "Pretty Woman." Concerning the actors and actresses in romantic movies, Americans chose Channing Tatum and  Jennifer Lawrence as their top picks for a celebrity valentine.

Romantic movie rentals skyrocket during the week of Feb. 14, according to Redbox, which tracked a 66 percent increase that week as compared to the first week of February last year.

This year's romantic titles available at Redbox locations include "If I Stay," "The Fault in Our Stars," "What If," "The Notebook" and "The Vow."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Most Bizarre Excuses for Being Late to Work]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:49:55 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/alarm-clock-crop.jpg

Getting in to work on time is not always an easy task.

Despite the typical traffic problems or public transportation woes, there’s apparently also car trunk thieves, strangers using cars as beds and even bad dreams working against employees trying to get to clock in on time.

According to a new survey from Chicago-based CareerBuilder, more than 23 percent of workers say they’re late to work at least once a month, and 14 percent say it’s a weekly occurrence.

Of those workers, at least 3 in 10 said they’ve lied about the reason for their tardiness. But that doesn’t sound so far-fetched when you consider that 41 percent of employers have actually fired an employee for being late.

The survey involved responses from more than 2,100 hiring and human resource managers and more than 3,000 workers across the nation.

The most common cause of tardiness, according to the survey, was traffic, followed by lack of sleep and weather.

Trying to get kids to school or daycare was a problem for 12 percent of responders and public transportation or wardrobe troubles were a problem for 7 and 6 percent of workers, respectively.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Most Bizarre Excuses for Being Late to Work]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:42:09 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/alarm-clock-crop.jpg While traffic, lack of sleep and weather are among the top reasons employees arrive late to work, some workers have blamed more unconventional causes of tardiness. In a new CareerBuilder survey, employers revealed some of the most outrageous excuses employees have given them for being late.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boeing 747-8 Picked as Next Platform for Air Force One]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:50:07 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/020810+Boeing+1.jpg

An aircraft from Chicago-based Boeing was once again selected to fly the President of the United States.

Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James, said a Boeing 747-8 will serve as the next presidential aircraft, commonly known as Air Force One.

"The presidential aircraft is one of the most visible symbols of the United States of America and the office of the president of the United States. The Boeing 747-8 is the only aircraft manufactured in the United States when fully missionized meets the necessary capabilities established to execute the presidential support mission, while reflecting the office of the president of the United States of America consistent with the national public interest," James said in a statement.

Research determined that only two four-engine platforms meet the requirements for Air Force One—the Boeing 747-8 and the A380, manufactured by Airbus in Toulouse, France.

Officials say modifications will need to be made to the aircraft before it can serve as Air Force One, a process that will likely also fall in the hands of Boeing.

"This decision is not a contract award to procure 747-8 aircraft," Col. Amy McCain, the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program manager, said in a statement. "We still need to finalize the overall acquisition strategy and conduct risk reduction activities with Boeing to inform the engineering and manufacturing development contract negotiations that will define the capabilities and cost."

The Air Force wants to own enough of the technical baseline to allow competition for "sustainment throughout the aircraft's planned 30-year life cycle," a release from James’ office said.

"The current fleet of VC-25 presidential aircraft has performed exceptionally well, a testament to the Airmen who support, maintain and fly the aircraft," James said. "Yet, it is time to upgrade. Parts obsolescence, diminishing manufacturing sources and increased down times for maintenance are existing challenges that will increase until a new aircraft is fielded."

The release said affordability will be a key part of the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program.

"The program will use multiple strategies, such as the use of proven technologies and commercially certified equipment, to ensure the program is as affordable as possible while still meeting mission requirements." James said. "We will insist upon program affordability through cost conscious procurement practices."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sears Lays Off 100 Employees at Hoffman Estates Headquarters]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:51:56 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/181*120/136142864.jpg

Sears Holdings laid off more than 100 corporate employees Wednesday, the company announced.

About 100 workers at their Hoffman Estates headquarters found out their jobs were cut effective immediately on Wednesday with about 15 additional people receiving the same news at other offices.

The layoffs were made in various departments across the organization, according to the struggling retailer.

“These decisions are never taken lightly, but they are a necessary part of our efforts to transform the company and return it to profitability,” Sears spokesperson Howard Riefs said in a statement. “We are committed to treating these associates with respect and compassion during this process.”

Eligible associates will receive outplacement services and severance to assist in their transition, Rieds said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[First Whole Foods in Former Dominick's Set to Open]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 17:16:57 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/whole+foods+21.JPG

The first Whole Foods store in a former Dominick's is set to open Wednesday in the Streeterville neighborhood.

The new location, at 255 E. Grand Ave., features several new shopping and dining experiences, including a coffee and wine bar, a living wall, a RAW vegan food venue, a shopping concierge service, a juice bar and a ramen bar.

"Whole Foods Market loves Chicago and we know that the community has been hungry for this store to open for some time," said Michael Bashaw, the Midwest regional president of Whole Foods. "We took the time to design and build a brand new store for this community that would offer not just a full-service grocery store, but a place to meet friends and share each other's company."

For opening day on Wednesday, the store will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Ald. Brendan Reilly at 8:45 a.m. After the ceremony, members of the Streeterville community can sample food, and the first 500 customers will receive a gift card.

The Streeterville store is the first of four new Whole Foods that will open by May of this year. The next one is set to open in Lincoln Park near DePaul University on Feb. 25 followed by one in the West Loop on March 25 and one in Edgewater on April 29. Three additional stores will open by the end of 2015.

<![CDATA[Pet Food Maker Issues Recall Over Listeria Concern]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 07:00:27 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/JJ-Fud.jpg

A Valparaiso, Indiana pet food manufacturer on Monday issued a recall of several items due to listeria concerns.

J.J. Fuds' frozen Premium Natural Blends, Chicken Tender Chunks pet food comes in 5-pound bags and was sold in five Midwest states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.

The items have product a UPC / batch ID number of 654592-345935. The manufacture date or lot codes on the bags say 5/5/14.

The recalled product should not be sold or fed to pets. Pet owners who have the affected product at home should return to retailer for a refund and proper disposal.

Consumers with questions can visit jjfuds.com or call 888-435-5873 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT.

<![CDATA[Avec, Alinea Top Zagat's 50 Best Restaurants in Chicago]]> Sun, 25 Jan 2015 11:46:47 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/FoodWineMagazine_Chicago-Koren-Grieveson.JPG

The votes are in for Chicago's best restaurants of the year according to Zagat.

The restaurant review site surveyed thousands of people across the country and analyzed the results for each city based on ratings and reviews from 2014. Each restaurant was given a score out of 30. The result was a list of the top 50 best restaurants in the city.

Topping the list in Chicago is Avec Restaurant, which serves Mediterranean food in the West Loop. Rounding out the top five are Alinea; Frontera Grill; Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab; and Katsu Japanese Restaurant.

The list can be sorted by food, decor, service and price. Using just one of these metrics, however, changes the order on the list quite a bit. The top restaurant for decor is North Pond in Lincoln Park, which came in at No. 48 overall. Alinea took the top spot for service, and Top Notch Beefburgers in Beverly took first place in price at $13 per meal.

The top 50 restaurants in Chicago are as follows:

Avec Restaurant: Mediterranean - West Loop

Alinea: American - Lincoln Park

Frontera Grill: Mexican - River North

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab : Seafood - River North

Katsu Japanese Restaurant: Japanese - West Rogers Park

Les Nomades: French - Streeterville

Next: Eclectic - West Loop

Longman & Eagle: American - Logan Square

Grace: New American - West Loop

Arami: Japanese - East Village

Spiaggia: Italian - Magnificent Mile

Topolobampo: Mexican - River North

Tanta: Peruvian - River North

Naha: American - River North

MK: American - River North

Gibsons Bar and Steakhouse: Steakhouse - Gold Coast

Girl and the Goat: American - West Loop

The Purple Pig: Mediterranean - Magnificent Mile

Publican Quality Meats: American - West Loop

Goosefoot: American - Ravenswood

Smoque BBQ: Barbecue - Irving Park

Arun's: Thai - Irving Park

Riccardo Trattoria: Italian - Lincoln Park

Au Cheval: American - West Loop

Nightwood: American - Pilsen

Sabatino's: Italian - Irving Park

Travelle: Mediterranean - River North

Kuma's Corner: Burgers - Avondale

Xoco: Mexican - River North

Brindille: French - River North

Mixteco Grill: Mexican - Lakeview

Homestead: American - East Village

Lawry's The Prime Rib: Steakhouse - River North

Top Notch Beefburgers: Burgers - Beverly

Chicago Chop House: Steakhouse - River North

Benny's Chop House: Steakhouse - River North

Nico Osteria: Italian - Gold Coast

Kai Zan: Japanese - Humboldt Park

Mercat a la Planxa: Spanish - South Loop

Everest Restaurant: French - the Loop

The Capital Grille: Steakhouse - Streeterville

A Tavola: Italian - Ukrainian Village

The Publican: American - West Loop

Blackbird Restaurant: American - West Loop

Pequod's Pizza: Pizza - Lincoln Park

Big and Little's: Seafood - Lakeview

Green Zebra: Vegetarian - Noble Square

North Pond: American - Lincoln Park

Turquoise Restaurant: Turkish - Roscoe Village

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria: Pizza - River North

Photo Credit: Carly Fisher]]>
<![CDATA[Andersonville Ranks No. 7 in Redfin's Hottest Neighborhoods for 2015]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 14:16:16 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/andersonville.jpg

The real estate website Redfin released its annual list of the nation's hottest neighborhoods for home buyers in 2015, and one Chicago hood landed a top spot.

Andersonville, located on the city's North Side, came in at No. 7 on Redfin's list and is the only Chicago neighborhood in the top 10.

Redfin ranked neighborhoods in 27 major metro areas across the U.S. based on total page views on their site, total favorites and the prevalence of "Redfin Hot Homes," defined as homes with a 70 percent chance or higher of having an accepted offer within their first two weeks on the market.

The site claims that this year's neighborhood hot list shows a trend toward affordability as a home's most valuable asset. Many of the top neighborhoods are not located in the city's trendiest area and may be located further from the city center, but they are nonetheless more affordable and still convenient.

Andersonville is located near the CTA's Red Line and has easy access to many bus lines, including the 22, which runs down Clark Street. Clayton Jirak, a Redfin real estate agent for the Lakeview, Ravenswood, North Center and Lincoln Square neighborhoods, said the housing options in Andersonville are attractive for both first-time and experienced buyers.

"The abundance of charming small businesses along Clark Street paired with frequent neighborhood street festivals make Andersonville its own little village in the city of neighborhoods," Jirak said in the Redfin report.

The No. 1 neighborhood in the U.S. this year is Dickinson Narrows in Philadelphia, followed by East Atlanta in Atlanta, Ga.; Little Neck in Queens, NY; Bohemia in Long Island, NY; Curtis Park in Sacramento, Calif.; Woodridge in Seattle, Wash.; Crocker in San Francisco; and Woodridge in Washington, D.C.

Last year, the only Chicago neighborhood to make the list was Humboldt Park, which came in at No. 10. This neighborhood was one of the strongest predictions, as Redfin recently reported that the median sale price in Humboldt Park went up 62 percent in 2014.

Although Andersonville was the only Chicago neighborhood to top the list this year, Redfin also ranked the top five neighborhoods in each of the 27 metro areas reviewd. The top five in Chicago area for 2015 are Andersonville, Garfield Ridge, Brighton Park, Lakeshore Historic District in Evanston and Ishnala in Palos Heights.

Photo Credit: seanziecrews/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Frank Meats Patty Opens in Former Hot Doug's Home]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:54:53 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/222*120/frank+meats+patty+sign.jpg

Friday marks the day when the former home of famed encased meat eatery Hot Doug’s officially becomes Frank Meats Patty.

The new restaurant, which offered free food to its first 20 customers Friday morning, looks to give meat eaters an entirely new experience.

Frank Meats Patty is owned by the group behind Fatso’s Last Stand and Lockdown Bar & Grill, and judging by their menu, will likely aim to be a more traditional burger and hot dog locale, shifting away from the wild ingredient-filled meals, extremely long lines and unusual hours boasted by their Avondale predecessor.

But traditional shouldn’t be confused with boring.

In their menu posted online, the restaurant offers meals ranging from Single Fatso burgers to the “Ooey Gooey” burger, Char Cheddar Dogs, a Shrimp Po’ Boy, a game burger of the month (this month’s is a buffalo sausage burger with pepper jack) and more.

The restaurant also showed off on social media a new Duck Foie Gras sausage burger with caramelized onions, truffle mustard, roasted shallots, cherries and Foie mousse. Need we say more?

The transition may officially mark the end of an encased meat-eating era at California and Roscoe, but it also looks to be the start of a new meat age.

Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com
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<![CDATA[Tiffany & Co. Undergoes Magnificent Mile Makeover]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:01:15 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/461436280.jpg

Tiffany & Co. is revamping its Magnificent Mile flagship store and construction is reportedly already underway.

The overhaul aims to create a more modern aesthetic and open layout for people perusing the upscale jewelry store.

Edward Gerard, group vice president of U.S. retail sales for Tiffany & Co., told the Chicago Tribune the blueprint for the changes include expanding the sales floor by nearly 10 percent and outfitting the space with additional seating options and luxurious finishes such as marble, polished metal and velvet drapery.

"All consumers are becoming more discerning as it relates to how they shop, and experience is a differentiator," Gerard said to the Tribune.

The publication reported the 15,000-square-foot store front has consistently been one of the top performers for the iconic brand, which is why it will be the first of Tiffany’s four Chicago stores to receive the upgrades.

"Any way you look at it, Michigan Avenue plays an important role in the global retail stage, and it warrants the type of investment we're making," Gerard continued.

Shoppers can expect the renovations to be complete by September.

<![CDATA[Target Launches New Plus-Size Clothing Line]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:51:24 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/240*120/AVA+VIV+Header.jpg

Target has announced plans to unveil a new clothing line designed specifically for plus-size women.

The line, expected to arrive in mid-February, was designed by Target's in-house design team and features "stylish basics along with trend-driven statement pieces that fashionistas will love," the company said in a release Wednesday.

Similar to Target’s other apparel line, the new AVA & VIV clothing will be updated monthly, with prices ranging from $10 to $79.99.

“Target is synonymous with great design, and with the launch of AVA & VIV, we’re stepping up our fashion game for our Plus-size guests,” Stacia Andersen, senior vice president of merchandising, apparel and accessories at Target said in a statement. “From stylish original prints to the attention to detail and fit, this line is meant to impress and we can’t wait to share it with our guests.”

As part of their latest line launch, the Minneapolis-based retailer enlisted the help of a blogger who once called for a boycott of the company. Chastity Garner, along with fellow plus-size bloggers Gabi Gregg and Nicolette Mason, were hired to help promote the line and give feedback on the newest collection.

Last August, Garner announced she was boycotting Target after the company released their Altuzarra for Target collection.

"Year after year, season after season, you put out these gorgeous designer collections and you almost never include a plus range. Every time each of these collections is about to be released it feels like a slap in the face," Garner wrote. “You may ask, ‘Is there any way I will take you back?’ I will take you back, when and only when, you include true plus sizes in your designer range collaborations. Until then, I will take my money elsewhere."

The line will be available on Target.com on Feb. 22 and will arrive in stores mid-February through March, the company said.

Photo Credit: Target
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<![CDATA[McDonald's Workers File Civil Rights Lawsuit]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:11:52 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/mcdonalds-sign1.JPG

Several McDonald’s workers filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the company Thursday alleging a “widespread pattern of racial and sexual discrimination and harassment” at some stores.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia by 10 former employees, claims the company last May simultaneously fired more than a dozen black workers from three Virginia stores who “didn’t fit the profile” desired at its restaurants.

“All of a sudden, they let me go, for no other reason than I ‘didn’t fit the profile’ they wanted at the store,” plaintiff Willie Betts, who was a cook at one of the McDonald’s, said in a statement. “I had no idea what they meant by the right profile until I saw everyone else that they fired as well. I worked at McDonald’s for almost five years, I was on time every day at four o’clock in the morning to open the store, and I never had a disciplinary write-up. They took away the only source of income I have to support my family.”

The complaint claims highest-ranking supervisors regularly called one of the locations the “ghetto store,” referred to black workers as “ghetto” and “ratchet,” and disciplined them for rule infractions that were forgiven when committed by white workers. One supervisor allegedly touched female workers on their legs and buttocks, discussed sexual activities with female workers and offered better working conditions in exchange for sexual favors, according to the complaint.

It further alleges that the McDonald’s Corp. representative who conducted regular inspection visits at the stores had learned of the terminations soon after they occurred on May 12, but took no action. The stores were located in Clarkesville and South Boston, according to the suit.

“We asked McDonald’s corporate to help us get our jobs back, but the company told us to take our concerns to the franchisee – the same franchisee that just fired us,” plaintiff Pamela Marable said in a statement. “McDonald’s closely monitors everything we do, from the speed of the drive-through line, to the way we smile and fold customers’ bags – but when we try to tell the company that we’re facing discrimination, they ignore us and say that it’s not their problem.”

Several workers say they contacted their local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People last year to report the harassment and discrimination.

“The treatment of these McDonald’s workers seems like it’s out of another era, but sadly the racism is a reality they are confronting today,” Rev. Kevin Chandler, president of the South Boston Chapter of the NAACP and Vice President of the NAACP Virginia State Conference, said in a statement. “The South Boston NAACP will stand with these fired workers until McDonald’s takes responsibility for the inhumane treatment these workers faced in its stores.”

Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald’s said it has not seen the lawsuit and “cannot comment on its allegations, but will review the matter carefully.”

“McDonald’s has a long-standing history of embracing the diversity of employees, independent Franchisees, customers and suppliers, and discrimination is completely inconsistent with our values,” the company said in a statement. “McDonald’s and our independent owner-operators share a commitment to the well-being and fair treatment of all people who work in McDonald’s restaurants.”

The complaint filed Thursday brings harassment and discrimination claims under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Section 1981.

“This is a problem that goes far beyond these stores in Virginia – it’s a problem with McDonald’s business model itself when workers at the company have nowhere to turn,” Kendall Fells, Organizing Director of Fast Food Forward, said in a statement. “McDonald’s has the power to fix this problem, but instead it chooses to skirt its responsibility and hide behind its franchise model.”

In response to the suit, the Fight for $15 movement launched a toll-free national hotline Thursday for McDonald’s workers across the country to report alleged incidences of harassment and abuse at their workplace. Workers can report the incidents by calling (855) 729-2869.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How McDonald's Fries Are Made]]> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 12:27:00 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/McDonalds-fries.jpg

If you were wondering how McDonald’s fries are made, or what they’re made of, you’re not alone.

As the world’s largest hamburger chain tries to shed its reputation of being “junk food,” the company released a video showing the process behind the making of their popular French fries, with the help of Mythbusters' Grant Imahara.

The YouTube video is the latest in a series of videos as part of the Oak Brook-based chain's recently launched marketing campaign to address common questions about its food, such as whether the beef has worms (the company's answer: "No. Gross! End of story.")

Last month, McDonald's USA President Mike Andres outlined improvements the company is working on, including the simplification of ingredient labels. Without providing details, he said to expect some changes in early 2015. The remarks came after the company reported a 4.6 percent decline in U.S. sales for November, capping two years of struggling performance.

"Why do we need to have preservatives in our food?" Andres asked, noting McDonald's restaurants go through supplies quickly. "We probably don't."

Andres said McDonald's is looking at different cooking and holding procedures to enhance the appeal of its core items, as well as shrinking the number of ingredients it uses. He noted McDonald's restaurants go through supplies quickly, meaning it may be a relatively easy task.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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