Restaurants are all about the experience; the service, the lighting, the decor and even the noise all play a factor in customer satisfaction -- which is why the acoustics adjustment system at COMAL, a Mexican restaurant in Berkeley, has been installed.
The system is pricey, coming in at $10,000 - $100,000, but is worth it considering the degree of customizability the high tech contraption offers. Designed by Meyer Sound Laboratories, it is a well-oiled harmony of speakers, subwoofers, microphones and sound-absorbing fabrics allowing sounds to be manipulated via iPad. With a swipe of the hand, different parts of the restaurant can be made to echo sounds louder (say, at the bar) while others can be made quieter (like in a private room).
Obviously a hefty investment to create the ultimate dining experience, COMAL definitely raises the bar as this concept goes beyond anything a simple restaurant theme could achieve. It will be interesting to see different restaurant innovations in the future.