How Kendall Hurns’ Creative Journey Began As Part of McDonald’s 1 in 8

Learn about Kendall Hurns' journey as part of McDonalds' 1 in 8.

Via Kendall Hurns

The concept of McDonald’s 1 in 8 is almost too good to be true. Imagine this: If you were in a room with eight fellow Americans, chances are at least one of them has worked or is currently working at McDonald's. That statistic itself is a powerful testament to how McDonald’s has not only ingrained itself in American culture, but embedded itself within communities across the United States. It's a great example of how McDonald's has not only served billions of meals, but has also served as a platform for countless individuals to kickstart their careers and pursue their dreams. The opportunities it has provided extend far beyond its delicious menu. 

Kendall Hurns is just one of the 1 in 8 crew whose lives were changed at the Golden Arches in his hometown of Calumet City, Illinois. The creative director and founder of the lifestyle brand Robotic Minds Concepts has been able to do amazing things in the world of arts and entertainment — and it all started with his first part-time job at McDonald’s. For Kendall, the vibrant colors and relatable narratives woven into their marketing in the Calvin’s Got A Job campaign and the uplifting community initiatives were all aspects of McDonald's that deeply resonated with him. 

Now, as he channels his creative energy to make a profound impact on culture, he has come full circle by becoming an official brand partner and the designer of the 1 in 8 "In the Crew" jackets. “The Crew are at the center of what makes the McDonald’s arches shine brighter. It’s incredible to think that one in eight Americans have been a part of creating the experience our fans love, so we couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate this amazing statistic  than having the jacket designed by Kendall, one of our very own." said Tariq Hassan, Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer at McDonald’s. “We knew he would be the perfect designer to bring it to life. His creativity and his own past experiences as a member of the 1 in 8 led to this one-of-a-kind varsity jacket that we hope will be worn as a point of pride for Crew members.”

Complex recently caught up with Kendall to talk about how he feels about being part of the 1 in 8, his invaluable experiences working at McDonald’s, and his career and creative journey inspired by his beginnings.

(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity)

First question I have is, can you take us back to when you first started at McDonald's? Where were you in your life and what made you want to apply for a job?

I was 15 years old, and it was time for me to start buying the things that I wanted. As a kid growing up, McDonald's was a big part of my life and it being across the street from where I lived, I thought, why not work at this place I've loved? So yeah, it was my first summer job. It was the first place I decided to work at when I could legally start working.

That's awesome. What are some fond memories you have of McDonald's before you worked there?

Honestly, just going. It’s a place that I always wanted to go to, obviously to eat. Sometimes my mom said yes, and sometimes she said no [laughs]. But it's always been a cool, vibrant place. I mean, you notice those arches anywhere. 

What are your thoughts on the fact that 1 in 8 Americans have worked at McDonald's? What does that say to you?

First of all, it's one of the craziest stats I've ever heard, if not the craziest. Before learning about it, I would've never thought that. I think it truly speaks to the brand's heritage and its generational crossover. My son appreciates McDonald's like I did when I was his age. And to have that, to me, that's special. I love it.

What can you say about the McDonald's you worked at and how it affected that community?

So, the first thing that comes to mind is whenever I would get McDonald's before school in the morning, there would always be this group of older people in there having coffee, reading the paper, conversing, and you can just tell they were comfortable. It was 7:00 in the morning and they're in McDonald's just to start their day. And then on the flip side, my friends and I, we would grab food and hang out after school. So it was like having those two different dynamics happening in the same place, just says a lot about how it affected the community. 

As someone who's worked at McDonald's, how do you think programs like this can provide opportunities and skills for individuals entering the workforce? 

It’s just a place that I believe can help you on your career journey in some capacity. For me, I've taken away branding, learning, marketing, and customer service. Those elements have helped me in my business practice and things that I've created over the years. So I think it can provide great opportunities and skills to individuals.

Absolutely. I was going to ask this question, but I feel like you answered it in the previous question as well. Are there any other specific skills or experiences you've gained during your time at McDonald's that you believe have been valuable in your subsequent career journey? I know you kind of touched on it already.

So, I was a cashier and it helped me develop communication and customer service skills. Those are two things that have been really instrumental in my career. And then, like I mentioned before, I learned marketing, branding, and how effective it could be. And when you think about companies that execute that at a high level, you have to think about McDonald's, easily one of the best, if not the best. All of that stuff is just something that I kept with me, and I knew that it was important for the things that I've been trying to build in my career.

You’ve stated your own personal mantra is “Create, Destroy, Rebuild,” summarizing it as we all have the ability to start over and rebuild again. How did you make that transition from working at McDonald's to building something like robotic minds? Robotics concepts?

So for me, it starts with creativity. The brand has been a huge part of my creative journey, which is why this partnership was a full-circle moment and no-brainer for me. Yeah, I'm sure it affects other people the same way. I think about being invited to view the McDonald’s archivist room at the headquarters and seeing these different design elements that have happened over the years of the brand and how they have been memorable — the colors, the vibrancy, the energy, all of that stuff has been super helpful to me. And so all of that has been a part of my transition, that creativity, that's where it starts for me.

As someone who's successfully navigated various career paths, what advice would you give to young individuals who are looking to break molds and explore different fields, much like you have?

I think it's key as a parent, I put a multitude of things in front of my son to help him just simply discover. So that would truly be my advice. Try it all, see what you're really into, because I couldn't imagine myself just doing one thing. I would go crazy. And so yeah, man, just to simply explore.

Love it. Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future with your continued involvement in the worlds of art, fashion, and entertainment?

To continue to grow, continue to grow, create and be a part of things that are meaningful, things that will stand the test of time. I would love for different brands or different things that I create now to be around 20, 30 years from now, living in some capacity. If my son carries it over, or somebody that works with me now keeps it going, that would mean the world to me.

Absolutely. Looking at your Instagram page, your pinned photos, you taking a trip to the McDonald's headquarters: You've already talked about it a little bit, but what was that trip for you and how does it feel to come full circle in a sense?

It was my first time visiting headquarters, so I was simply excited about that alone. But the best part of it was to have my son with me, as you see in the picture. And I'm not even sure how much he understood what was going on, but the fact that we have pictures and video and just we documented that moment, he'll have that. And so to be a part of this 1 in 8 campaign and design this really dope jacket is not only a full-circle moment.

And to cap it off, I got to ask, what was your favorite item on the menu when you were working at McDonald's?

Number one. Big Mac meal. With large fries and a Hi-C.

Are you a member of the 1 in 8? We want to hear from you! Visit to share your story and to purchase your 1 in 8 jacket beginning Monday, Oct. 16 at 10 a.m. ET, while supplies last. For each jacket sold, McDonald's will contribute funding to help exceptional crew members achieve their aspirations through once-in-a-lifetime experiences and opportunities so make sure you grab a jacket today.

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