- This article is about the restaurant chain. For the character, see Chuck E. Cheese (Character).
Chuck E. Cheese (formerly Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre, Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza, and Chuck E. Cheese's) is a chain of American family entertainment centers. Chuck E. Cheese is the main brand of CEC Entertainment, Inc., with its headquarters in Irving, Texas.
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. The brand is represented by Chuck E. Cheese, an anthropomorphic mouse.
The company was founded as the Pizza Time Theatre concept by Nolan Bushnell in 1977, officially being labeled as the first family restaurant to integrate food, animated entertainment, and an indoor arcade. Pizza Time Theatre and ShowBiz Pizza Place merged in 1984, bringing both concepts under the wing of ShowBiz Pizza Time, Inc. In 1991–92, ShowBiz Pizza Time, Inc. unified the two brands into Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza. In 1994, Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza underwent a redesign, changing to Chuck E. Cheese's by 1995. In 1998, ShowBiz Pizza Time, Inc. was renamed to CEC Entertainment, Inc. In 2007, the company celebrated its 30th anniversary, and as of 2016, it operates 593 restaurants.
On June 25, 2020. Irving announced that CEC Entertainment filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court. It was also announced that 34 locations will be permanently closed.
While its primary focus is pizza, Chuck E. Cheese also offers cold-cut sandwiches, buffalo wings, salad bars and desserts. Some restaurants are also used as test locations which feature new Chuck E. Cheese foods. Certain Chuck E. Cheese locations also offer beer and wine.
For soft drinks, Chuck E. Cheese previously served Coca-Cola products at its restaurants. In 2011, the company switched its contract to Pepsi and started selling its products at most of the locations shortly afterwards. However, some restaurants may still sell Coca-Cola products.
Starting on November 13, 2012, new gluten-free menu items are available at more than 500 locations in the United States and Canada. This currently includes a choice of a personal-size cheese pizza and an individual chocolate cupcake.
Arcade and currency
From the time of the company's inception to today, one of the main draws for the stores has been the arcade. The arcade games primarily consist of either redemption games or video arcade games.
The brass tokens issued by the company for use in their arcades exist in numerous varieties, and are collected by exonumia enthusiasts. The company is currently testing a card access method for use with their arcade and skill games. Some locations will no longer use tokens, and instead use a refillable card to access credits, which replace tokens; and points, which replace tickets.
Animatronic showsAlong with the arcade, the other main draw for the restaurants since the beginning was its animatronic show, until the mid-1990s. More recently, less attention has been placed on animatronics. However, there are now several different styles of animatronic shows in use within the company, depending on when the location opened. The show featured Crusty the Cat (the first character to be retired as he was replaced with Mr. Munch in 1978), Pasqually the singing chef, Jasper T. Jowls, and the main focus of the show, Chuck E. Cheese.Later, restaurants also added Cabaret shows made in separate rooms of each restaurant. They also frequently changed out the sole female character in the main show. They achieved this by applying a cosmetic change to the existing animatronic, as well as changing the stage backdrop, to match the performer.
Beginning in 1998, the company's show installed into new locations, referred to as "Studio C", consists of a single animatronic Chuck E. Cheese character alongside large television monitors, lighting effects, and interactive elements. In some markets, the company has also tried a new restaurant concept that omits the animatronic show entirely.
The members that perform in the animatronic show are:
- Chuck E. Cheese (mouse) — vocals
- Helen Henny (chicken) — vocals
- Jasper T. Jowls (hound dog) — vocals, guitar
- Mr. Munch (monster) — vocals, keyboards, piano
- Pasqually (human chef) — vocals, drums, percussion
There are two types of costumed shows used by Chuck E. Cheese's - the LIVE! show and the Road show. The LIVE! show is performed at the front of the stage in the showroom, whenever a child is celebrating a birthday. It consists of a rendition of "Birthday Star", sung to the child that is celebrating the birthday. A costumed Chuck E. Cheese dances with the guests and sings, while being accompanied by the cast members. The Road show is a performance by a costumed Chuck E. Cheese character, and is performed outside the normal showroom. Children are gathered via the public announcement system and dance to win free tickets.
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- ^ "Nutritional Information" (PDF). Official Site. CEC Entertainment, Inc. January 2009. http://www.chuckecheese.com/menu/nutritional-information.pdf. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
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- ^ http://www.chuckecheese.com/new-glutenfree-offerings
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- ^ Corporate site – Entertainment
- ^ "Birthday Parties" (PHP). Official Site. CEC Entertainment, Inc.. http://www.chuckecheese.com/parties/birthday.php. Retrieved 2009-03-03.