Pizza, arcade games, and entertainment, all in one place - what a concept! Chuck E. Cheese's is the pizza-parlor arcade "where a kid can be a kid." The family-friendly franchise and its mascots have changed a lot over the years, but there are still over 500 of the restaurants in operation from coast to coast.
Chuck E. Cheese's has a long, strange, and surprising history. Did you know that the rat Chuck E. Cheese was supposed to be a coyote? Or that the company's founder was a major player in the early video game industry? Or that the animatronics show was designed for parents, not kids? Then there are the well-reported bursts of violence that have become all too frequent: a quadruple murder, giant brawls, and even a grandma beat down. Blame the cheese?You've probably visited a Chuck E. Cheese's at some point in your life, hopefully because you were a kid, are a kid, have a kid, or know a kid. But you probably didn't know all the cheesy facts about that wisecracking rat and his pizza parlors. That's why we compiled this list. Have a slice!
The Guy Who Made Atari Also Created Chuck E. Cheese's
Nolan Bushnell, the American engineer and entrepreneur who founded Atari, also created Chuck E. Cheese's. And he did it while working at his pioneering video game company. Combining pizza with arcade games turned out to be a lucrative idea. Pizza + video games = profit.
There's Pizza Because It's Hard to Screw Up
Why pizza? NolanBushnell, Chuck's creator, told The Atlantic, "I chose pizza because of the wait time and the build schedule: very few components and not too many ways to screw it up. If the dough is good, the cheese is good, and the sauce is good, the pizza is good. I didn't have any preconceived idea that I knew how to run a restaurant, but I knew simple was better."
The Animatronic Characters Were for the Parents
Kids wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese's for the pizza and, most importantly, the games; believe it or not, the show with the creepy animatronic rat and his friends was actually meant to lure in parents."The reason for doing the animals, believe it or not, was not for the kids," former head honcho Nolan Bushnell explains. "It was meant to be a head fake for the parents. Kids are really smart at knowing how to play their parents, and the kids knew that if they said, 'I want to go to Chuck E. Cheese and play the games' the parents would just see themselves spending money. But if they said, 'I want to go see Chuck E. Cheese entertainment - and it's free,' they'd be good to go. The other thing was that we wanted the parents to have something to amuse themselves while the kids were in the game room. If you listened to the dialogue, it was fun, edgy stuff, kinda like Toy Story, written as much for the parents as the kids."