Showbiz (formerly ShowBiz Pizza Place) is a family restaurant chain founded in 1980 by Robert L. Brock and Creative Engineering.
The Showbiz brand emerged following a separation between Brock and Pizza Time Theatre, owners of the Chuck E. Cheese's franchise. ShowBiz Pizza restaurants entertain guests through a large selection of arcade games, coin-operated rides, and animatronic stage shows as a way to provide a complete package of food and entertainment.
Both companies became competitors and found early success, partly due to the rise in popularity of arcade games during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The type of animatronics used in the ShowBiz pizza chain – which feature an overall-clad, hillbilly bear named Billy Bob – distinguish it from its rival which offers many of the same services. Following Pizza Time Theatre's bankruptcy filing in 1984, however, ShowBiz Pizza Place bought the struggling franchise and formed ShowBiz Pizza Time Inc., a combination of the former companies' names.
In 1990, a process known as "Concept Unification" was initiated by Showbiz Pizza Time. This, however, was a more thinly-veiled attempt to shut down Showbiz Pizza and merge it into the expanding Chuck E. Cheese's chain. The last Showbiz Pizza location in the United States was shut down in 1992. The final traces of the Showbiz Pizza name disappeared in 1998, when the chain's former owners, Showbiz Pizza Time, rebranded itself as CEC Entertainment.
In 1999, years after Concept Unification, Showbiz Pizza Time's name change, and the mass rebranding and shutdown of countless Showbiz Pizza locations, Showbiz World bought the rights to the "Showbiz Pizza" name and the Rock A-Fire Explosion and resurrected the chain under the name of just "Showbiz".