Pizza Express gets iPod makeover
Noise testing booth
Pizza Express is experimenting with a restaurant format featuring booths that reduce noise and include personal iPod docks.
Margherita munchers in the Richmond branch can now plug in their iOS devices to control the lights and press their own button to signal service or ask for a bill.
Designer Ab Rogers worked with acoustics expert Professor Sergio Luzzi to create the parabolic booths, which use sound absorbent materials similar to those found in the Royal Albert Hall.
The chairs were developed in response to research indicating that 84 per cent of British diners have had meals ruined by excessive noise.
How it works...
Opened last week, the Richmond Pizza Express will serve as a "Living Lab", where public feedback will shape the new look of Pizza Express restaurants from 2011. ®
Pizza Express branches have always been excruciatingly noisy -- I put it down to the marble tables multitude of hard surfaces and overcrowding.
Which came first?
Isolated booths and iPod docks? More like, once you've got iPod docks you have to install the something to reduce the racket. Even the supplied headphones "share" the music around, and the young'uns have everything turned up to 11....
Another point, though, what is all this obsession with compatibility with just one brand of MP3 player (and you may already guess I'm not a huge fan of the market-leading one). Do Pizza Express's floors only work with Clarks shoes?
You go out to spend time with the people you go out with, not the entire planet. We may still be a global village (is that still the in thing?) but we're not required to give up any and every opportunity to choose how we interact with the rest of the world in the process. Sometimes it's nice to be out and still be a little separate from everyone else.
Or have you never gone for a walk in an empty park? Hidden away in a corner of a restaurant? Maybe found a little arbour where nobody else goes so you can spend some time out, but not flooded with noise from passers-by? I don't see any difference between that and this, except that this is an attempt to get bums on seats in a money-making establishment.
Press a button to ask for bill
Sounds promising ... add ability to pay online and I might even decide to buy an iPod! Actually that's a bit extreme but there have been times at some restaurants where it seems to take more time to ask waitperson for bill, wait for waitperson to bring bill, get waitperson to notice that you have your credit card out, wait for waitperson to say "I'll go and get the credit card machine", wait for waitperson to bring credit card machine, pay bill, as it took to order, serve and eat the meal!
(N.b. on last two meals out, only one at Pizza Express, add in the steps tell waitperson that this isn't our bill, wait for waitperson to bring correct bill!)
BTW, in reality I'm normally a very happy Pizza Express customer (and member of the Pizza Express club) plus their one of the few restaurants that on more than one occasion have offered us a free drink because their service has been slow!
Wait a sec. That's a direct rip-off of the Maxwell Smart / Agent 86 Cone of Silence :P