ShowBiz Pizza Place
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2007)|
|Fate||closed, most restaurants become Chuck E. Cheese's|
|Defunct||1992, name used until 1998|
ShowBiz Pizza Place was a restaurant chain popular in the 1980s. Its history is greatly intertwined with that of its main competitor and eventual successor, Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre. Both companies found early success, owing partially to the rise in popularity of arcade games at the time. The basic concept was to offer pizza, a large selection of arcade games, and an animatronic stage show as a complete package of food and entertainment. The largest difference between the two, and easiest way to distinguish the two chains, was the different robotics and the mascots that each concept used. The mascot for Showbiz was Billy Bob, an overall-clad hillbilly bear.
The business was founded in Topeka, Kansas, in 1980 by Robert L. Brock, owner of Brock Hotel Corporation. At the time, Brock was quite successful as one of the largest franchisors in the Holiday Inn hotel system. Eighty percent of ShowBiz Pizza was owned by Brock Hotel Corporation. The other 20 percent was owned by Creative Engineering, Inc. which was responsible for producing the animatronics show ShowBiz used: The Rock-afire Explosion. In 1982, the company moved its headquarters to Irving, Texas. In 1984, ShowBiz Pizza purchased the assets of Chuck E. Cheese's (C.E.C) after it declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. They then proceeded to change the name of the company to ShowBiz Pizza Time, Inc.; however both restaurants continued operating as separate entities.
The continued financial decline of ShowBiz Pizza Time began to turn around as result of the efforts by Richard M. Frank, who became chairman and CEO in 1986. Based on customer research, Frank instituted a number of changes to appeal to younger children and parents. Specific measures included increased lighting, expanded and improved food, table service, self-serve fountain drinks, increased rides, and distinct toddler areas. They also implemented a "Honorary Rock-Afire Band Member" program. Seven year-old Jessica Levine of Kansas City, MO became the first, and only, child Rock-Afire Band member. After a few more years, ShowBiz Pizza Time became publicly traded, severed ties with Creative Engineering, and ultimately restructured the restaurants under "Concept Unification" in 1990. This effort consisted of renovating all ShowBiz animation into Chuck E. Cheese characters and renaming all stores to Chuck E. Cheese's. This would mark the end of the concept known as "ShowBiz Pizza." Although the company is still in business, the current management of the "Chuck E. Cheese's" concept is a direct line from the "Showbiz Pizza Time, Inc." era, with little connection to the original "Pizza Time Theatre" ownership. In 1998, ShowBiz Pizza Place was disestablished, changed its name to CEC Entertainment, Inc., and moved its stock from NASDAQ to NYSE.
The majority of former Showbiz Pizza Place locations were converted into Chuck E. Cheese's. At the current time, there are around 83 converted "Rock-afire Explosion" shows still in use as "3-Stage" Chuck E. Cheese shows. Some stores were also closed at this time, while other former ShowBiz locations converted to independent concepts.
There are a few restaurants still using the Showbiz Pizza Place name and animation. All are located outside the United States, and have no connection to the original company. Known locations are in Lebanon, Dubai, and United Arab Emirates. One also operated in Salmiya, Kuwait, but was shut down a number of years ago for construction and was never opened again.There has been one return of the brand in the United States, where it was called Showbiz Pizza Zone. It is now closed, and the building is now home to RentSmart.
Throughout its history, Showbiz Pizza Place has used two different logos. The first logo was used from 1980 when the company began until 1989. This logo had a flashy look to it and it said "Showbiz Pizza Place".
In 1989, Showbiz got their final logo and it was used until the remaining restaurants became Chuck E Cheese's during "Concept Unification". The word "Place" was removed from the logo and the restaurant was renamed to "Showbiz Pizza". This logo looked similar to Chuck E Cheese's 1989-1995 logo.
Alabama - Mobile (Downtowner at Airport Boulevard, converted to Chuck E. Cheese), Birmingham (9325 Parkway E - now a CVS/pharmacy), Dothan (1001 Commons Drive - now a Chuck E. Cheese), Hoover, Huntsville (1220 Jordan Ln NW - now a Chuck E. Cheese), Sheffield (4700 Hatch Blvd - now a Chuck E. Chesse), Cullman, Montgomery (South Boulevard, now Chuck E. Cheese), Vestavia Hills (500 Olde Towne Road - now a Chuck E. Cheese)
Arizona- Mesa (856 Alma School Rd. - now a Chuck E. Cheese), Phoenix (35th and Northern)
Arkansas - Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Fayetteville (all are now Chuck E. Cheeses)
California- Citrus Heights (6251 Sunrise Blvd - now a Chuck E. Cheese), Fresno (Shaw Ave.), San Francisco, Vallejo (Larwin Plaza)
Colorado- Arvada (Ralston Rd. and Garrison St.), Aurora (Iliff Bvd. and Peoria St.), Denver, Fort Collins
Florida- Altamonte Springs, Fort Lauderdale, Melbourne, Jacksonville (9820 Atlantic Blvd - now a Chuck E. Cheese), Orlando (7419 International Drive - now a Chuck E. Cheese), Pensacola (7350 Plantation Rd - now a Chuck E. Cheese), Panama City (4432 W Highway 98 - first converted into a Chuck E. Cheese, now a Suburban Extended Stay Hotel) Tampa (12707 N. Dale Mabry Highway at Mission Bell Square; 1707 E. Fowler Ave - now an A&W Restaurants Location), Winter Park (Lee Rd.) Mary Esther near Fort Walton Beach Mary Esther Cut Off (first converted to Chuck E. Cheese then torn down and built a Logan's Road House), Pinellas Park (6700 US Hwy 19 -now a Olive Garden).
Georgia- Atlanta (Cumberland Blvd. SE --between Spring Rd. and Cumberland Mall), Columbus (Macon Road, Cross Country Plaza shopping center), Macon, Savannah (6700 Abercorn Street - now a Chuck E. Cheese.)
Hawaii- Honolulu (820 W Hind Drive - first converted into a Chuck E. Cheese, now a cafe serving coffees and espressos)
Idaho- Boise (6255 W Fairview Avenue - now a Chuck E. Cheese)
Illinois- Arlington Heights (955 W Dundee Rd - now a Chuck E. Cheese), Bloomingdale, Darien (7409 S Cass Ave - now a Chuck E. Cheese), Decatur (Pershing Rd), Fairview Heights (10850 Lincoln Trl - Now Chuck E. Cheese), Matteson (106 Town Center Rd - now a Chuck E. Cheese), Mount Prospect, Naperville (1154 E Ogden Ave - now a Chuck E. Cheese), Libertyville (1360 S Milwaukee Ave), Oak Lawn (4031 W 95th St - now a Chuck E. Cheese), Park Ridge, Peoria, Springfield
Indiana - Indianapolis (4910 W 38th St - now a Chuck E. Cheese), Evansville, In (559 N Green River Rd- now a Chuck E. Cheese.) Mishawaka (822 W McKinley Ave- now a Chuck E. Cheese.) Terre Haute, In (Towne South Plaza, now a Jo-Ann Fabrics.)
Iowa - Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, West Des Moines - now a Chuck E. Cheese
Kentucky - Lexington (1555 E New Circle Rd - converted to Chuck E. Cheese)
Michigan- Flint, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Kalamazoo/Portage (S. Westnedge) now an Olive Garden
Minnesota- Bloomington (Southtown/Penn Ave.), Brooklyn Center (Brookdale/John Martin Dr.), St. Paul (opened on White Bear Ave. at Larpenteur, then moved to Midway on Lexington and closed in eight months), West St. Paul (Robert St.)
Mississippi - Gulfport (15082 Crossroads Pkwy - now a Chuck E. Cheese)
Missouri- Cape Girardeu, now a Goodwill, Kansas City (Antioch Shopping Center - this was notably the first ever location), St. Charles, now a Chuck E. Cheese, St. Louis, Saint Joseph - 1607 N Belt Hwy - now a Toyota dealership, Springfield, now a Chuck E. Cheese.
Nebraska - Lincoln (221 N 66th Street - now a Chuck E. Cheese), Omaha (225 N 76th Street - now a Chuck E. Cheese)
Nevada - Sparks (McCarran Blvd); site also hosted popular weekend teen dances ("Teen Night")
Oklahoma - Oklahoma City, Tulsa (7108 S Memorial Dr - now a Chuck E. Cheese)
Ohio - Columbus (4284 Macsway Ave - now a Chuck E. Cheese)
Pennsylvania - Springfield, Baltimore Pike, Altoona (3415 Pleasant Valley Blvd- now a Chuck E. Cheese)
South Carolina - Charleston (Sam Rittenberg Blvd.), Myrtle Beach (2 locations)
Texas - Austin (Ben White Blvd), Dallas, Fort Worth, Longview (Loop 281), San Antonio
Tennessee - Hickory Hollow Mall (Antioch), Rivergate Mall (North of Nashville) (2 Locations - Both now Chuck E. Cheese) and Northgate Mall (Chattanooga - Now a Chuck E. Cheese), Knoxville (next to West Town Mall - converted to Chuck E. Cheese in the mid-90's, later demolished and moved to another location)
Utah - Salt Lake City. (State Street and 4500 South) Converted to a Chuck E Cheese in 1994, Relocated to South Town in 1996. Currently a Chinese Buffet restaurant.
Virginia - Roanoke, Chesapeake, Lynchburg, Woodbridge
West Virginia - Barboursville. (US Rt. 60) Billy Bob's Wonderland. 3 stage Rock-a-fire Explosion show still in operation, go-kart track, mini-golf, laser-tag arena.
Wisconsin- La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, and Green Bay (converted to a Chuck E. Cheese)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to ShowBiz Pizza Place.|