Chuck E. Cheese's and ShowBiz Pizza Timeline


1977 - Atari opens the 1st Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre opens in San Jose, CA.

1978 - Nolan Bushnell leaves Atari and purchases PTT, founding Pizza Time Theatre Inc.

1979 - Bob Brock signs a co-development agreement with Bushnell to open approx 280 PTT stores across 16 states. Prior to opening his 1st franchise, Brock meets Aaron Fechter of Creative Engineering and decides to start his own company (ShowBiz).

1980 - The 1st ShowBiz Pizza Place opens in Kansas City, MO. Immediately a lawsuit is filed by PTT against Brock for breach of contract. Brock immediately counter sues.

1981 - Both companies rapidly expand. PTT becomes publicly traded.

1982 - A settlement is reached, and SPP agrees to pay PTT a portion of its profits for 14 years (estimated to be valued at $50 million).

1983 - The great video game crash occurs in the US, and both companies slow their expansion. Sales begin to weaken for both chains.

1984 - Bushnell resigns as chairman of PTT. Shortly after PTT is forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. SPP begins the purchase of PTT units and franchise rights.

1985 - SPP completes the merger of PTT, obtaining their assets for cash and stock estimated at $35 million. The new company is renamed ShowBiz Pizza Time Inc. and has 359 stores (207 SPP, 152 PTT). Dick Frank is hired as the new President of SPT. Creative Engineering sells its stake in SPT, and major restructuring is undertaken with the help of the Hallwood Group. Unprofitable locations are closed.

1986 - With 272 stores, SPT begins to show profits as financial restructuring is completed. Major remodelling is tested at both SPP and PTT locations.

1987 - SPT opens its first new location in 3 years.

1988 - Phase 1 remodels become widespread (old attractions gone, introduction of skill games).

1989 - SPT is spun-off from parent company Integra (formerly Brock Hotel Corp).

1990 - Concept Unification is introduced, removing the Rock-afire Explosion from ShowBiz stores and replacing them with Chuck E. Cheese characters.

1992 - Having completed Concept Unification, Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza becomes the exclusive store operated by the company.

1995 - Phase 2 remodels begin, and Chuck E. Cheese is given a new kid-friendly makeover. Competition from Discovery Zone prompts the changes.

1998 - SPT changes its name to Chuck E. Cheese Entertainment Inc.

1999 - CEC purchases former competitor Discovery Zone.

2000 - 300th CEC Location is opened.

2001 - Phase 3 remodels begin, featuring Toddler Zone and a new games package.

2003 - 400th CEC Location is opened.

2004 - Phase 4 remodels begin, featuring updated decor and purple color scheme.

2005 - 500th CEC Location is opened.

2012 - With slowing sales, CEC announces that their Chuck E. Cheese mascot would receive a major makeover to make the character look more like a rock star.

2014 - Apollo Global Management acquires CEC Entertainment and it's 577 worldwide stores for approximately $950 million. As a result of the merger, CEC becomes a privately-held, wholly-owned subsidiary of affiliates of Apollo.