Pizza Hut Touchscreen Table Pairs Pepperoni And (Hopefully) Pong

Kevin Bostic

Because there simply aren't enough screens in your life, Pizza Hut is showing off a touchscreen menu table concept that will bring the future to your pizza-ordering experience. It'll be just like playing with your iPad... just smudgier and more expensive.

Nation's Restaurant News this week pointed us to a Pizza Hut concept video that points out the obvious: there's just too much work and too little fun involved in telling a living person what toppings you would like on your pizza. Thanks to The Hut, though, those awkward human interactions may fall by the wayside, as Pizza Hut customers could one day order up a pie just by tapping and swiping the touchscreen integrated into their tables in the restaurant. The concept video, produced by Chaotic Moons Studio, shows exactly how that Pizza Hut experience would work... minus the requisite Wet Naps, of course.

It's a cool vision of our increasingly screen-saturated future, and one that – as Gizmodo's Sploid points out – relies heavily on ideas Microsoft already sketched up with its Surface concepts. Still, the notion of placing a smartphone onto the table and having the table recognize you and start the order process is kind of fun. Equally fun-looking is Pizza Hut's pizza creation interface, with users swiping to change pizza size, sauce, and toppings.

Adding to the fun would be a suite of touchscreen games integrated with the table. This is an inevitable move that hearkens back to the halcyon days for pool halls and arcades, when you could wait for your food and ignore your family over a game of Arkanoid or Ms. Pac-Man. Pizza Hut's tech triumph provides same digital isolation without having to pull out your smartphone. That's progress.

Pizza Hut calls the touchscreen table "the concept car of pizza ordering," adding that it could pop up in just about any of Pizza Hut's roughly 4,000 dine-in locations. Pushing out the technology on a wider scale could be troublesome in terms of expense, logistics, and – most of all – cleanliness. Thinking about playing some Wordament before that extra-large Meat Lover's gets to the table? You might want to think a bit about just where that smudge on the home button came from before you chow down. It's not exactly in the same ballpark, but let's just say Pizza Hut has had... issues with sanitary practices before.

The touchscreen table concept isn't Pizza Hut's first attempt at finally breaking down those walls between pizza and technology that have long plagued mankind. Last year, the pizza chain began allowing Xbox 360 users to order pizzas through their consoles, freeing gamers from the burden of having to get off of the couch, at least until it's time to answer the door.