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    Missouri Consumers Get Taste of McDonald's of the Future

    Chain looks to shift from fast food to fast-casual.

    ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Diners in St. Joseph will be among the first in the United States to try out McDonald's new store of the future, reported the Chicago Tribune. A recent media event at the restaurant, which opened its doors on Aug. 4, highlighted the new features it offers, such as unlimited French fries and the addition of table service.

    "Unlimited fries are just the beginning of what's different about (this restaurant)," said restaurant owner Chris Habiger. "We're making a shift from fast food to fast-casual."

    Customers can order at the traditional counter or via kiosks. The restaurant also has a separate counter for McCafé beverages and a dessert bar with waffle cones, signature sundaes and unlimited toppings. It is also bringing back McDonald's oatmeal raisin cookies and twist ice cream cones.

    The upgraded menu features more grilled options and gourmet sauces like pico guacamole. These toppings are part of McDonald's customizable hamburgers and chicken sandwiches. The unlimited French fries will accompany specialty orders for its first few months of operation.

    Non-food amenities include interactive lightboard tables, tabletop video games and a children's play area with a dedicated staff during private parties and events.

    The store of the future is intended to compete with higher-end restaurants such as Red Robin and Panera Bread, according to McDonald's.

    The company that owns the St. Joseph's restaurant, Habiger West, owns six other McDonald's locations in the city and one more in Mound City, Mo. It has already hired more than 100 new employees for the new location and is still hiring, said co-owner Karri Habiger.

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