Chuck E Cheese’s was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Irving, Texas. The first location opened in San Jose, California, as Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre on May 17, 1977. The concept was authored by Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell, credited with bringing video games such as Pong to the mainstream. The Pizza Time Theatre was the first family restaurant to integrate food, animated entertainment, and an indoor arcade. Following a filing for bankruptcy, the chain was acquired by competitor Showbiz Pizza Place in 1984, forming Showbiz Pizza Time, In 1990, the company began unifying the two brands with the goal of renaming every location to Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza. The logo was redesigned in 1994 after Pizza was dropped from each store’s name Showbiz Pizza Time became CEC Entertainment, Inc. in 1998, and over 600 Chuck E. Cheese stores are open in 47 states and 15 foreign countries as of 2017.
While its primary focus is pizza, Chuck E. Cheese’s also offers cold-cut sandwiches, chicken wings, salad bars and desserts. Some stores are also used as “test” locations which feature new Chuck E. Cheese foods. Certain Chuck E. Cheese locations also offer beer and wine.
Starting on November 13, 2012, new gluten-free menu items are available at more than 500 locations in the U.S. and Canada. This currently includes a choice of a personal-size cheese pizza and new items such as chocolate or vanilla sheet cakes and cotton candy.