Giant pizza 'eatertainment' store opens in Stockton

Aug. 20, 2002

STOCKTON, Calif. -- In an age when the 1,200 square-foot delco has become the standard pizzeria, John Parlet still believes bigger is better.

Way bigger.

His John's Incredible Pizza Company store -- the fourth in five years -- spans 44,000 square feet, more than 30,000 square feet larger than the largest Chuck E. Cheese stores.

According to the Stockton Record, the new place occupies a space that formerly housed a grocery store. Parlet spent about $5 million retrofitting the space.

Unlike Chuck E. Cheese stores, there are no robotic animals singing and dancing, but about 40 percent of the space is cordoned off for arcade games (150 of them) and parties. Coming soon is a Disneyland-type teacup ride being imported from Italy at a cost of $70,000.

The rest of the restaurant is set aside for back of the house operations and buffet-style dining that includes made-to-order individual pizzas and pastas, soups, salads, baked potatoes and desserts.

There is seating for 850 in five themed dining rooms: a quiet business conference room wired for the Internet and with projection equipment for computerized presentations; a sports-bar room; a hunting-lodge atmosphere room where floor-to-ceiling posts look like tree trunks; a country patio room; and a kiddie room where cartoons run nonstop.

On busy nights, the restaurant will feed 2,000 people.

Price for the all-you-can eat offering: $5.49 plus drink from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, and $7.49 plus drink on evenings and weekends.

"We're first and foremost restaurant-oriented," Parlet said. "The entertainment is just an adjunct."

The arcade, Parlet said, generates about 40 percent of total revenues.

The restaurant employs about 275 people.

Topics: Operations Management

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