Shannon Davis discusses his foray into technology and his new company headquarters

Monday, October 17, 2011
Shannon Davis, owner of the McDonald's Arch Nemesis franchise, is remodeling the old Teamsters building in Cape Girardeau to use as the company's headquarters. (Kristin Eberts)

Shannon Davis grew up and attended school in Cape Girardeau, and he has deep roots in the local fast food industry. "My dad was a McDonald's operator, and I have been working in McDonald's since I was a kid," says Davis. His Arch Nemesis franchise now operates 11 McDonald's restaurants in Southeast Missouri and has more than 600 employees -- and will soon have a high-tech, newly renovated corporate office in the former Teamsters building on Broadview Street in Cape Girardeau. Here, Davis discusses his longtime interest in technology and how he's applied it to his home and business.

Business Today: The buzz right now seems to be about your new conference room in the old Teamsters building. Tell us how this project came about and what all the room will include.

Shannon Davis: We have been looking for a larger building for a few years now to act as our office as well as some warehouse space. The Teamsters building has been around since 1961 and had faded into the landscape of Cape. I guess I knew it was there, but had forgotten about it. It was built very well, and we immediately saw the potential it had. We have refreshed the building to act as our corporate offices, warehouse and storage. The part that was most exciting was the very large meeting hall on the north side of the building. We only need this size of room a few times a month ourselves, and after having talked with some friends in the community, it became apparent that the space might be something that we could make available to the community. HD Media Systems recently did the media and technology at my residence and were brought into the office project as well.

A partial list of the available technology includes a Savant Control System; 16-foot-by-9-foot drop-down projection screen; HD projector; 6,000-plus watts of sound via 50 speakers; iPad/iPhone controlled interface; video conferencing; digital white board integration; Blu-ray; integration for all electronics; and Wi-Fi. The idea is that anyone can quite literally show up with a PowerPoint on their iPhone or laptop and run the entire room as if it was theirs -- no hauling in screens and projectors. The space can be configured into several different ways -- boardroom, classroom, high density meeting hall, et cetera. There is an elevated stage on one end as well as a kitchen area in the hall to allow catering for events.

BT: With all these technology upgrades, how did you keep the historic feel of the building?
Davis: The building is a midcentury modern. We have the original blueprints and have used them to return a few elements to as-intended condition. We enlisted Jeff Lewis [celebrity designer of Bravo TV's "Flipping Out"] to consult on keeping the midcentury vibe but make it a bit more contemporary and comfortable. The exterior of the building is very accurate to the original design, down to the door handles and landscaping. We are keeping the diamond "Teamsters" sign but are going to change the name to something else. We are still working on that. We are taking ideas.

Shannon Davis, owner of the McDonald's Arch Nemesis franchise, is remodeling the old Teamsters building in Cape Girardeau to use as the company's headquarters. (Kristin Eberts)

BT: I don't know of anything else like this in the Cape Girardeau area. What are your plans for the space? What will it do for your company and the Southeast Missouri business scene as a whole?
Davis: We think there is the need for this sort of space in Cape. It's high-tech, user-friendly and well designed. We will probably start advertising the space in the first quarter of next year.

BT: You've described yourself in past interviews as a "technophile." Why? What else have you done, and do you have any new projects in the works?
Davis: I have always been an extremely early adopter of technology. I'm not sure where that comes from, but I like integrating it into my work and personal life. I thought I was done for awhile after the house project wrapped up, but I enjoy building and design, so when the building came along it was meant to be. Nothing (else) new technology-related, but that is subject to change.

We were the first McDonald's outside of California to integrate a dual-lane ordering system. We experimented with remote order-taking in 11 drive-thru lanes a few years ago. Orders were originally being taken by agents in Colorado Springs, and then in our own call center in Cape.

BT: The Midwest is not exactly known for being at the forefront of technology. Where do you come up with your ideas? Do you ever have a hard time getting people to understand the value of or accept new things? How do you over come that?
Davis: I have almost gotten to the end of the Internet, so I'm well researched. Adoption of technology is not as hard as it used to be. Most people are willing to try if there is no downside for them.

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