McDonald’s calls it the “Restaurant Experience of the Future.”

The fast food giant’s Ottawa-area restaurants are among the first to be outfitted with new self-order kiosks, large touch-screen menus that allow customers to create their own orders.

“It’s like a giant tablet, fundamentally, where you just kind of go through, you decide what you want to order, and you can pay at the kiosk,” says Natalie Saulnier, Vice President-Eastern Region, McDonald’s Canada.

And that’s not  the only change.

In another first, customers can use the kiosks to create their own burgers from nearly 30 different ingredients, including 12 toppings, 9 sauces, and a lettuce wrap in place of a bun.

The personalized burgers will the prepared in a special area of the kitchen, and delivered right to the customer’s table.

That part might not be so ground-breaking compared with other restaurants.  But it is certainly a different way of doing things under the Golden Arches.

Traditionalists needn’t worry. You can still order all of the fast food chain’s traditional fare. And you can speak to someone at the counter if you prefer. McDonald’s says it’s all about choice. “We’re offering our guests the customization the personalization they crave,” says Saulnier.

Why the change? Observers say companies like McDonald’s need to change to stay relevant in an increasingly-competitive market, one where gourmet burgers and other fare are replacing the traditional cheeseburger.

“So this is just an ongoing sort of escalation, I guess, in terms of keeping people focused on McDonald’s offerings but also giving them a new reason to visit,” says Michael Mulvey,  Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management.

McDonald’s says it is investing on average an incremental $200,000 - $250,000 in each restaurant as part of its plans. It also says the latest innovations will create over 300 new jobs in the Ottawa area.