Chuck E. Cheese's

Chuck E. Cheese's
Chuck E. Cheese's
Type Public company (NYSECEC)[1]
Industry Family entertainment centers[1]
Founded San Jose, California, U.S. (1977 (1977))[2]
Founder(s) Nolan Bushnell[3]
Headquarters Irving, Texas, United States[1]
Number of locations 542 stores (2009)[4]
Area served North America, South America
Key people

Nolan Bushnell (Founder)[3]

Michael Magusiak (CEO)[4]
Products Pizza, video games, kiddie rides, birthday parties[1]
Revenue US$248,133,000 (1st Q.2009), increase 1% from 1st Q.2008[4]
Operating income US$59,214,000 (1st Q.2009) increase from 1st Q.2008[4]
Net income US$34,052,000 (1st Q.2009) increase <1% from 1st Q.2008[4]
Total assets US$725,868,000 at 2009-03-29 decrease 1% from 4th Q.2008[4]
Total equity US$725,868,000 at 2009-03-29 decrease 1% from 4th Q.2008[4]
Subsidiaries Showbiz Pizza Place & Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre (merged into Chuck E. Cheese's)[5]

Chuck E. Cheese's (formerly Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre and Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza) is a chain of family entertainment centers. Chuck E. Cheese's is the main brand of CEC Entertainment, Inc., (NYSECEC) with its headquarters in Irving, Texas.[1]

The concept is a sit-down pizza restaurant, complemented by arcade games, amusement rides, an animatronic show, and other diversions, such as climbing equipment, tubes, and slides − all mainly directed at younger children.[3] The brand is represented by Chuck E. Cheese, an anthropomorphic mouse.[3][6]

The company was founded as Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre by Nolan Bushnell in 1977, officially being labeled as the first family restaurant to integrate food, animated entertainment, and an indoor arcade.[3] Pizza Time Theatre and Showbiz Pizza Place merged in 1984, bringing both concepts under the wing of Showbiz Pizza Time, Inc.[2] In 1991/2, Showbiz Pizza Time, Inc. unified the two brands into Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza.[5] In 1994, Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza underwent a redesign, changing to Chuck E. Cheese's by 1995.[2] In 1998, Showbiz Pizza Time, Inc. was renamed to CEC Entertainment, Inc.', removing any mention of Showbiz Pizza Place, Inc., the company that CEC Entertainment, Inc. started as.[1][2] In 2007, the company celebrated its 30th anniversary,[2] and as of May 2009, it operates 542 restaurants.[1][4]


Corporate history

Chuck E. Cheese's, originally referred to as Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre, was founded by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell.[3] Bushnell’s experience in the amusement park industry, as well as his fondness of The Walt Disney Company, was influential in the conceptualization of the Pizza Time Theatre concept.[7] The first location opened in San Jose, California in 1977, and was labeled as the first family restaurant to integrate food, animated entertainment, and an indoor arcade.[2][3] In November 1978, Bushnell left Atari to purchase the Pizza Time Theatre concept from Atari's then-corporate parent, Warner Communications.[8]


As the restaurant became increasingly successful, he began to franchise, resulting in a co-development agreement between Bushnell and Robert Brock of Topeka Inn Management in 1979. The agreement handed Brock exclusive franchising rights for opening Pizza Time Theatres in sixteen states across the southern and midwestern United States,[8] while also forming a company subdivision, "Pizza Show Biz", to develop the Pizza Time Theatres.[8]

Showbiz Pizza Place Inc.

In November 1979, Brock met Aaron Fechter of Creative Engineering, Inc. Concerned that Fechter’s animatronics would be too strong a competition for Bushnell’s work, Brock requested that Bushnell release him from the co-development agreement, citing misrepresentation.[8] In December 1979, Brock and Fechter formed “Showbiz Pizza Place Inc”, severing Brock's business relationship with Bushnell.[8][9] Showbiz Pizza Place was conceptually identical to Pizza Time Theatre in all aspects except for animation; which would be provided by Creative Engineering.[8] Showbiz Pizza Place opened its first location on March 3, 1980, in Kansas City, Missouri.[2]

A Chuck E. Cheese's facility under the now defunct title of "Chuck E Cheese's Pizza".

Upon the opening of Showbiz Pizza Place, Bushnell sued Brock and Topeka Inn Management over breach of contract.[8] Brock immediately issued a counter-suit against Bushnell, citing misrepresentation.[8] The court case began in March 1980, eventually settling out of court; with Showbiz agreeing to pay Pizza Time Theatre a portion of its profits over the following decade.[8] During this period, Topeka Inn Management also changes its name to Brock Hotel Corporation and moved its headquarters to Irving, Texas.[8] Both restaurants experienced increased success as the video game industry became more robust;[8] and to maintain competition, both franchises continually modified and diversified their animatronic shows.


In 1981, Pizza Time Theatre went public; however, the evolving video game industry resulted in significant losses for Pizza Time Theatre; losing $15 million in 1983, and by 1984, Bushnell’s debts were insurmountable, resulting in the filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy for Pizza Time Theatre Inc. Showbiz then bought the floundering company, recreating itself as Showbiz Pizza Time Inc.[2]


After the merger, both restaurants continued operating under the different titles, while major financial restructuring had begun,[2] eventually becoming publicly traded in 1989, with sales increasing by 8.3%.[1][2] During this period, Creative Engineering began to sever ties with Showbiz Pizza Time (they officially left the company in September 1990), eventually resulting in the unification of its mixed characters. By 1992, all restaurants assumed the name of Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza.[5] However, the name was changed to Chuck E. Cheese's in 1994 during a redesigning of the concept.[2] In 1998, the company renamed itself CEC Entertainment, Inc.,[1][2] and in 1999, bought out competitor Discovery Zone.[10] Recently, in 2007, Chuck E. Cheese's celebrated its 30th anniversary.[2] Currently, there are 542 open locations throughout North America, South America, and the Middle East.[1][4]


Menu items

While its primary focus is pizza, Chuck E. Cheese's also offers sandwiches, hot dogs, wings, side dishes and desserts. Some stores are also used as "test" locations which feature new Chuck E. Cheese foods.[11] Certain Chuck E. Cheese locations also offer beer.[12]



From the time of the company's formation to today, one of the main draws for the stores is the arcade.[1][3] The arcade games primarily consist of either redemption games or video arcade games.[13]


The brass tokens issued by the company for use in their arcades exist in numerous varieties and are collected by exonumia enthusiasts.[14] The company is currently testing a card access method for use with their arcade/skill games; where locations will no longer use tokens, and instead use a refillable card to access credits (tokens) and points (tickets).[15] This concept is currently in the testing phase in Irving, Texas, along with nine other locations in the United States.

Animatronic figures

Along with the arcade, the other main draw for the stores is its animatronic show. From the time of the company's formation through the mid-1990s, the company's animated characters were a main draw for the stores. More recently, less attention has been placed on animatronics. There are several different styles of animatronic shows in use within the company, depending on when the store opened, whether it was renovated, and other factors.[16]

When the first location opened in 1977, the animatronic characters were featured in framed portraits (no longer used) hanging on the walls of the main dining area. The show had Crusty the cat (first character to face retirement), Pasqually the singing chef, Jasper T. Jowls and the star of the show, Chuck E. Cheese. In 1978, Crusty was retired and soon replaced with Mr. Munch (the purple pizza eater).[17] Later restaurants also added "Cabaret" shows in separate rooms of each restaurant.[3] They also frequently changed out the sole female character, named Helen Henny, in the main show, which involved a cosmetic change to the existing robot as well as change of stage backdrop to match the performer.[18][19]

Beginning in 1998, the company's show installed into new stores, referred to as "Studio C", consists of a single animated Chuck E. Cheese character alongside large television monitors, lighting effects, and interactive elements.[20] In some markets, the company has also tried a new store concept that omits the animated show.

Group members[21]

  • Chuck E. Cheese — vocals
  • Helen Henny — vocals
  • Mr. Munch — vocals, keyboards
  • Jasper T. Jowls — vocals, guitar
  • Pasqually — vocals, percussion, accordion

Costumed shows

  • LIVE! show

The LIVE! show is performed at the front of the stage in the showroom. The costumed Chuck E. Cheese dances with the guests and sings, while being accompanied by the cast members. A LIVE! Show consists of singing Happy Birthday to the birthday kid.[22][23]

  • Road show

The Road show is a performance by a costumed Chuck E. Cheese character, and is performed outside the normal showroom.[22] Children are gathered via the public announcement system and can dance to win free tickets.[22]

See also

Portal icon Dallas-Fort Worth portal
Portal icon Companies portal
Portal icon Food portal


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Investor Information" (PHP). Chuck E. Cheese's Official Site. CEC Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Company History" (PHP). Chuck E. Cheese's Official Site. CEC Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Packer, Linda (1979-10). "Catering To Kids" (PDF). Food Service Marketing: pp. 46–7. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "CEC Entertainment Reports Financial Results for the First Quarter of Fiscal 2009; Revises Previously Scheduled Date for Investor Conference Call" (Press release). Business Wire. 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  5. ^ a b c Prewitt, Milford (1990-09-10). "ShowBiz Parent Merges Concepts Into One Big Pie" (PDF). Nation's Restaurant News: pp. 12–3. 
  6. ^ "Entertainment" (PHP). Chuck E. Cheese's Official Site. CEC Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  7. ^ "Pizza Time's Vaudeville Theatre" (PDF). Western Foodservice. 1979-03. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kinkead, Gwen (1982-07). "High Profits from a Weird Pizza Combination" (PDF). Fortune: pp. 62–6. 
  9. ^ "Rock-afire Explosion Brochure" (PDF) (Press release). Creative Engineering, Inc. 1980. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  10. ^ Zuber, Amy (1999-07-05). "Chuck E. Cheese's 'traps' Discovery Zone". Nation's Restaurant News (Irving, Texas) 33 (27): pp. 1. ISSN 0028-0518. Archived from the original on ????-??-??. Retrieved 2009-04-08 
  11. ^ "Nutritional Information" (PDF). Chuck E. Cheese's Official Site. CEC Entertainment, Inc. January 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  12. ^ Lieberman, Al & Esgate, Patricia (2002). "Location-Based Entertainment and Experiential Branding" (PDF). The Entertainment Marketing Revolution (Illustrated ed.). FT Press. p. 272. ISBN 0130293504.,M1. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  13. ^ "Games & Rides" (PHP). Chuck E. Cheese's Official Site. CEC Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  14. ^ "Chuck E. Cheese Tokens". Forrest's Token Page. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  15. ^ S., Travis. "CEC Token Cards" (CSS). Showbiz Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  16. ^ S., Travis. "Pizza Time Theatre: Stage Shows" (CSS). Showbiz Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  17. ^ "Pizza Time Theatre Program" (PDF). ATARI, Inc.. 1977. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  18. ^ "Pizza Time Theatre Balcony Show Photograph #1". 1981. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  19. ^ "Pizza Time Theatre Balcony Show Photograph #2". 1980s. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  20. ^ "Chuck E.'s New Look" (PDF) (Press release). Garner Holt Productions. 1998. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  21. ^ Corporate site - Entertainment
  22. ^ a b c "Birthday Parties at Chuck E. Cheese’s". Birthday Party Locations. 2008-12-07. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  23. ^ "Birthday Parties" (PHP). Chuck E. Cheese's Official Site. CEC Entertainment, Inc.. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 

External links

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