The ‘McDonald’s of the future’ features touchscreens and free fries

Previously known as the starting point of the Pony Express and the place where Jesse James died and Eminem was born, St. Joseph, Missouri now has a new claim to fame, as the home the future of fast food. It’s a future that apparently includes lots of touchscreens and, for a limited time, unlimited fries.

The self-stylized “McDonald’s of the Future” joins a recently opened New York City franchise as a sign of the direction the world’s largest restaurant chain looks to head in, moving forward. The key of both are self-serve kiosks, a vaguely futuristic crash course at Hamburger University.

Using touchscreens (or “grease depositories” as they’re known in the industry), customers can make their own customized burgers and sandwiches, featuring such non-standard McDonald’s menu items as maple bacon and guacamole. For the first few months, at least, those orders will come with bottomless fries – a fact that no doubt contributed to the newly opened location being a mad house today.

There’s also a big interactive play area featuring projections and interactive games. The move marks McDonald’s push to upgrade itself as a member of the “fast-casual” set, a group of somewhat higher end chain restaurants that includes the likes of Chipotle and Panera.

The move seems to be working – one customer told the Kansas City Star that the new Mickey D’s is, “the nicest looking restaurant in St. Joseph.”