Chuck E Cheese, has made many changes since the founding father, Nolan K. Bushnell
and it was restructured to a Redemption & Jumper/Climber Animatronics Arcade
In 1972, Nolan K. Bushnell, developer of pong with the help of Al Alcorn, designer of pong.
Nolan K. Bushnell, an American electrical engineer from Utah and founder of Atari, Inc.
needed to develop a distribution channel for his new Atari coin operated games so in 1977
Nolan K. Bushnell purchased Pizza Time Theaters back from Warner Communications. Nolan K.
Bushnell and Atari originally started Pizza Time Theaters in 1977 but Time Warner had
bought both from Nolan K. Bushnell in a 25 million dollar deal.
Nolan K. Bushnell with Pong
In 1978 Nolan K. Bushnell left Time Warner and had bought back the rights to run Pizza Time
Theaters because he knew that if kids could play games in public in a safe family
environment, that this would be a new type of entertainment franchise. Link
Chuck E. Cheese - The Joking Animatronic Mascot
Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza-Time Theaters
This new pizza chain was then renamed Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza-Time Theaters. Under
Nolan K. Bushnell's ownership, Chuck E. Cheese grew to 300 outlets. Each Chuck E. Cheese
was outfitted with animatronics puppet animals that played music and sang as a new
entertainment phenomenon. The fun loving animatronics, Chuck E. Cheese, a large comical
adult mouse, was located in the "theater" and was the main attraction. Nolan K. Bushnell
loved the Disney animatronics at Disneyland and even tried to get employment their in
the early days, however, being unsuccessful gaining employment he eventually started
his own animatronics with the lead of being a big mouse, probably given the idea by
the famous Mickey Mouse. These pizza parlors contained over 100 video games, pinball
machines, and other types of games, and was the country's largest pizza parlor.
Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza-Time Theaters went public in 1981 and increased Nolan K. Bushnell's
worth to somewhere in the range of $70 million. ShowBiz Pizza owned by Robert L. Brock,
competed heavily with Nolan K. Bushnell's animatronics and pizza/arcade theme and were in
several of the same areas as Nolan K. Bushnell's franchise.
Win A Prize at Chuck E. Cheese
For the kids it was all about the gold-colored tokens because you would get lots of
tokens to play games if you bought some pizza. These were the games of the classic
era of video game arcades with loads and loads of new shiny coin operated video games
which nobody had ever seen before. Joust, Tempest, Position, Centipede and Pac-man to
name a few. The original gold tokens are hard to find expensive collectables at this time.
Chuck E. Cheese even offered wooden nickels. See a Chuck E. Cheese
Token collection. Link Showbiz Tokens: Link
In 1983 Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza-Time Theaters loses $15 million while Atari, the video
game giant, loses $539 million because of the great American Video Game Crash of 1983.
In 1984 Chuck E. Cheese's-Pizza Time Theaters fell on bad times and entered bankruptcy.
At this time Nolan K. Bushnell leaves the faltering pizza company. While in Bankruptcy,
Nolan K. Bushnell's largest competitor in the Pizza Business, ShowBiz Pizza, buys out
Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza-Time Theaters. The newly named Chuck E. Cheese emerged from
bankruptcy and it survives today as a successful entertainment and restaurant chain with
more than 480 restaurants under the umbrella name of ShowBiz Pizza Time Inc. which runs
both the ShowBiz Pizza and Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Chains.
Also in 1984 Richard M. Frank became the CEO and decided to change the target
audience from the 10 to 17 years age group to the 0 to 12 years
range they have today, Which meant that all of the games and prizes had to be retooled
for this younger age group.
Chuck E. Cheese Games Retooled
A large number of the kid games offer prize tickets as premiums which can be used in
redemption to trade for prizes or treats. Skee ball, air hockey and the basketball
traditional favorites among the younger crowd.
The adults with kids are very much the target audience as the Chuck E. Cheese animatronic
band focuses on his from the 1980's like "Big Country" and "I Tumble For You." and
don't forget the Beetles greatest hits. It's all there. Every child and parent gets
stamped with matching black light unique numbers for child security measures against
would be criminals. If you don't have kids, you don't get in unless you are on the
birthday list. The business did get a complete make over with a new bright paint job
with lots of new "branding" experience. Chuck E. imagery and lore are everywhere in
the attempt to keep children's attention with loud noises converging on one another
with such sounds as electronic beeping, talking, singing whirrs and flashing bright
lights all with a Chuck E. Cheese mantra. Here is the place to be, the kid universe,
where a Kid Can be a Kid! Chuck E. Cheese or CC for those in the know. Note: Chuck E.
Cheese or CEC was no longer the place to go to play the latest video game equipment.
Most were replaced with kiddy redemption equipment that gave you tickets to by trinkets
at the ticket counter.
Chuck E. Cheese - Birthday Party Wrapping Paper
Then in 1985 a major restructuring is done, closing unprofitable stores and
concentrating more on quality of food and customer satisfaction and less on the
expensive animatronics. Finally in 1986 profits begin to increase and marketing
becomes aggressive. After the long three year slump, in 1987 the company started
opening new pizza entertainment centers and was remodeling the old pizza entertainment
centers over the past year. Staff employees were now called cast members.
"Where a Kid Can be a Kid" is the new slogan in 1990 as the company grows steadily
from 5 years of steady growth.
By 1992 all restaurants are united under the identity of Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza.
A New Focus for Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza
Discovery Zone is now major competition with that of Chuck E. Cheese Pizza because
it is focusing on the same family crowd with a indoor jungle gym. This competition
forces Chuck E. Cheese Pizza to install its own jungle gyms to keep up with the
Chuck E. Cheese Sky Tube
The focus is now on very young children instead of the teenage crowd. Climbing
equipment, sky tubes, giant slides and small rides are installed as well as other
redemption equipment for the very young child in mind as the main focus. The
specialization is on Birthday parties and family oriented group parties.
1999 ShowBiz Pizza Time changes name to CEC Entertainment and is no longer expanding
its franchise in United States but is looking to international markets instead. July
of 1999 - Discovery Zone arcade files Chapter 11 and is purchased by CEC. CEC intends
to convert ten of the locations to Chuck E. Cheese restaurants and sell off the
remaining land and property.
2006 Chuck E. cheese has some competition over seas. It's the new
Mario Factory Arcade in Urawamisono, Saitama, Japan.
2006 Studio C is the main stage show which brings in lots of business which suggests
that the influence of animated characters is still important in growth and the
continued success of Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Centers. There are several different
styles of animatronic shows in use within the company, depending on when the store
opened, whether it was renovated, whether it was an original ShowBiz Pizza property.
January 1, 2006, The company is very strong, CEC Entertainment, Inc. operates a system
of 522 Chuck E. Cheese's restaurants in 48 states, of which 477 are operated by the
Company. Chuck E. Cheese's donates 15% of all proceeds back to your school from sales
generated by weeknight Chuck E. Cheese fundraiser events. Company History: Link
2006: uWink is a new franchise being started by Nolan K. Bushnell in which customers will
order food electronically, via a two sided video screen replacing the need for
waiters. These touchscreens will also give you a selection of music videos, movie
trailers, and other short-form entertainment. But mainly they'll display videogames,
Nolan K. Bushnell's lifelong passion. These touch screen games are not to very original,
but are basically retooled games that we played in the 1980's with a crisper look to
them. uWink Company Web Site Link The
focus will be on getting 21-34 year old females into his Bistro for a night of
interactive entertainment at the eatery.
Nolan K. Bushnell states that video games need to go back to their role as a social
facilitator, the way party games help people to interact. The game should be secondary
to the social interaction between the players." He further states that the video games
medium's failure to fulfill its educational potential a "disaster."
This new multimedia uWink is a 5400 square foot Restaurant located at the
Westfield Promenade in Woodland Hills, CA., run by the famous culinary veteran
Greg Schroeppel as Executive Chef. With extensive kitchen experience at such well known
restaurants as SPAGO. Link
This uWink Bistro Restaurant is just off Topanga Canyon Blvd. and Highway 101. uWink will
be above Maggiano's Little Italy restaurant and the Corner Bakery on the north side of the
Westfield Promenade Mall. News Release Link
The uWink System
people can use the touch-screen uWink game themselves, or play against other
players around the country for cash and other prizes such as a new car. Everyone will be
connected via the Internet in order to compete with each other all across the country, with
a mere $1 to compete in the "ultimate treasure hunt" online. Nolan K. Bushnell predicts he
will have 150,000 uWink systems running in the next two years. Link
Video Games generated $9.6 billion last year.
"Avoid missing ball for high score."
From Nolan K. Nolan K. Bushnell, father of the video game industry.
The uWink Interactive Bistro
Nolan K. Bushnell felt that life should be an interactive learning experience with a medium
that is constantly challenging your brain while in a social interaction with your friends
and peers. It's not about sitting home alone in a room by yourself and a console. It is
about going out and meeting friends for a stimulating time in which your brain will be
pushed in order to learn more and compete with your friends on puzzle solving and other
fun reactive intellectually stimulating games with a medium that puts power and fun at your
finger tips, hence, the Bistro, uWink. This type of system will hopefully be fun for both
the gamer and non-gamer alike as well as breaking the male oriented gamer genre, so that
women will be equally interested in these new uWink multimedia games such as it was in
the beginning with pong, the ball and paddle video game put out by Nolan K. Bushnell's
Atari in 1972.
uWink Management Team
John Kaufman, Consulting Director
Alissa Bushnell, Vice President of Marketing & Daughter of Nolan K. Bushnell
Nolan Bushnell, Chief Executive Officer
Ralph Gentile Architects
Paul Dumais, Chief Technology Officer
Peter Wilkniss, Chief Financial Officer