CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Christmas Gift Guide
MP3 Players

Pizza Express puts iPods in tables to choose your tunes with your toppings

Pizza Express is fitting iPod docks in tables -- let's hope your taste in music doesn't put anyone off their dinner.

When the moon hits your iPod like a big pizza pie, that's Pizza Express. The restaurant chain for people who think they're too good for Pizza Hut has installed iPod docks in tables, and soundproof domes with your dough balls.

The iPod docks let you choose the music and lighting as well as your toppings. To stop your taste in music from putting other diners off their dinners, and keep ambient noise from disturbing you, sound-absorbing domes dangle from the ceiling above each table. They act as intimate acoustic chambers for your meal, blocking out the next table's conversation about last night's Mad Men, today's Guardian and the Ocado delivery making them late for Pilates.

One clever feature is a light that diners can activate to call staff, request the bill, or be left alone. That cuts out awkward neck-craning attempts to establish eye contact, and means you should never again need to perform the universally understood scribbling-in-the-palm-of-your-hand gesture.

Hopefully, Pizza Express is working on an iPhone app that lets you order from your phone, thus removing all human contact from the experience. We've already enjoyed testing delivery apps from Papa John's and Domino's.

The first iPizzeria launches in Richmond, an experimental 'Living Lab' where customer feedback will shape future branches of the chain. The restaurant has been designed by acoustician Professor Sergio Luzzi and architect Ab Rogers, who previously restyled Little Chef as part of celebrity bacon-and-egg ice cream-purveyor Heston Blumenthal's roadside reboot. Right, who's hungry?