From Cheese-E-Pedia


General Info

Pizza Arcade
Years Active: June 6, 1984 - 2015
Status: Restored
Number of Characters: At least 9

Manufacturer Info

Show Manufacturer: The Robot Factory, Gavin Wigg

Gigglebee's was a chain started by Piccadilly Circus that later became it's own entity after Piccadilly Circus Pizza Inc dissolved. The pizza place offered arcade games, laser tag, bumper cars, and skee-ball.[1] The main attraction of the restaurant however was the pizza-serving animatronics on tracks that could hold conversations with guests.[2] The show and concept were reused at locations with just name changes for places such as Pizza Peddler and Peppy's Pizza, and Track Stars. The manufacturer for most of these animatronics was The Robot Factory in Colorado.


Early History

In 1939, a successful grocery company called Red Owl was expanding and chose to have their third location be at 519 S Minnesota Ave in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This store was seen as very successful and 20 years later it got a major expansion to the building. In 1976 the then property owner Merle Getten decided to rebrand the store into Country Store, a concept where customers could save money by bagging their own groceries and taking them out to their own cars. This concept wasn't very successful and the business sold out to Kampgrounds of America Inc in 1977.

KOA then remodeled the property again and started an experimental business called Granny's Ice Cream Parlour and Family Fun Center. The concept included an arcade, bumper cars, pinball machines, batting cages, and mini golf. This concept however didn't take off the way KOA had hoped and in 1982, KOA sold the business to a firm called Advance-Carter Co. ACC decided to use the property to expand their arcade chain called The Circus.[3] This concept however didn't last too long and by 1986, the business was sold to Galaxy Enterprises Inc owners Randy Hindbjorgen, Chris Kirkus, Randy Koepsell, and Doug McBeth, who used it as the first Piccadilly Circus franchise location. This would later become the most fondly remembered Gigglebee's location.


On April 13, 1984, Piccadilly Circus Pizza Inc posted an ad to the The Des Moines Register looking for people interested in working for a franchised Piccadilly Circus Pizza place.[4] On June 6 of that same year, Robert Lawler, Rod Simonson, Fred Merch and Marty Miglionico would open the first robot-staffed Piccadilly Circus location in Sioux City Iowa. The location repurposed an old meat packing plant and turned it into an entertainment center titled KD Entertainment Center, and Piccadilly Circus was put onto the second floor.

This location became the first Piccadilly Circus location to introduce the concept of communication between robots and customers. This idea was credited to Fred Merch who commissioned some characters to be made by The Robot Factory the year prior.[5] These characters would become Wilbur, Stanley, Stella, and Bandit. The location had a strong start with the company claiming they would be competing with Showbiz in no time. "Show Biz robots just stand there, they don't socialize with the crowd or carry pizzas" was Rod Simonson's reasoning. Merch claimed that other locations would also be switching to being robot-staffed in the future, and that highly populated towns would be the first to receive the upgrade.

Piccadilly Circus Franchising

Merch started franchising his Piccadilly Circus concept in January of 1985.[6][7] These new locations would have Dilly the Lion, and a raccoon (unsure if Roxy or Bandit), and an upgraded Wilbur.[8] Sometime in 1985, the first Piccadilly Circus franchise would open in Fort Dodge, Iowa. However in December of 1985 it would burn down.[9] On May 9th of 1986 the second Piccadilly Circus franchise would be opened in Broadway Shopping Center in Columbia Missouri, the owners are currently unknown. Shortly after on July 26 of 1986, the third Piccadilly Circus franchise was built in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This location would be operated by Galaxy Enterprises Inc.

New Names

On February 26, 1988, a preexisting local pizza place in Sioux City called L.A.P.D. Pizza announced they would be changing their name to Piccadilly Circus Pizza.[10] Around this same time Piccadilly Circus Pizza Inc as a dissolved, leaving it's franchises to fend for themselves.[11] Later in June of 1988, Piccadilly Circus in Sioux City was renamed to Pizza Peddler.[12] About a year later in Sioux Falls, a contest would also be held to determine a new name for their local Piccadilly Circus as well. The winning entry from this contest was "Gigglebees" from Erin Brende of Dell Rapids, who won a television set and a party at Gigglebee's as a reward.[13] The new name was announced in December and from then on, Piccadilly Circus became Gigglebee's.[14] However, the Piccadilly Circus in Columbia wouldn't be able to change it's name in time and closed sometime around September of 1989.[15]

Gigglebee's Franchising

Five years later, in late December of 1993, Galaxy Enterprises in Sioux Falls decided it was time to franchise their Gigglebee's business out. This decision likely after having receiving much notoriety from the area due to Wilbur being active in several local events. Galaxy Enterprises would start to offer franchises out of the local area and into nearby states with the goal of opening 3 locations a year. The first location they offered a franchise out to was Rapid City, South Dakota.[16]

Kids Inc principals Al and Valerie Patton, along with DeDe and Warner Ghere would take up this offer, and in October of 1994, would start operating the first ever Gigglebee's franchise.[17] This new franchised location was built on 937 E North Street in Rapid City next to a K Mart and introduced the character Peppy the Pizzasaurus. Galaxy Enterprises would also offer franchises in Nebraska in late September of 1995[18] and possibly in Toronto Canada,[19] but unfortunately the offer was seemingly never taken up. Around July 26th of 1998, Sioux Falls also received a building upgrade, adding laser tag to their location's entertainment options.[20] This was likely the last upgrade that the Sioux Falls location received.


After the turn of the century, interest for Gigglebee's would start to die out. The robot for Wilbur in Sioux Falls started deteriorating[21] and this likely scared off many new customers. Unlike in 1991 when a technician fixed up Wilbur, this time it seems a technician wasn't interested in fixing up Wilbur. Despite this, Wilbur would still attend multiple events in the area until roughly 2005 when Wilbur's robot completely stopped functioning during business hours.[22]

In late 2004 for an unknown reason, Pizza Peddler closed. This was the first well established Piccadilly Circus to close, but the owners expressed interest in reopening the store the next year.[23] This unfortunately never happened, likely due to of KD Station being declared unsafe for occupancy after an electrical fire.[24] There is no concrete evidence of this however.

Around this time, Galaxy Enterprises started charging large royalties for the Gigglebee's name so it could stay afloat. By 2005 Rapid City's Gigglebee's posted ads for someone to buy their piece of the franchise and it was sold to someone named Janet.[25] Rapid City's location was then bought back again in late 2006 by Al and Val Patton who quickly rebranded the store to Peppy's Pizza and made Wilbur a side character to separate themselves from the Gigglebee's name and save them from the heavy royalty costs.[26]

Gigglebee's Sioux Falls building after closure

A couple years later on April 13, 2008, heavy competition from other pizza places caused Galaxy Enterprises to sell the land Sioux Falls' Gigglebee's was on to Stencil Corp. Randy Hindbjorgen announced that they would be relocating and selling some of their assets for economic reasons.[27] They also offered to sell their business during this time.[28] A sign would be put up in front of their shop asking someone to buy the business so it could be relocated.[29] The store also announced they would be willing to sell anything in the store, including Wilbur if they were unable to relocate. Hindbjorgen explained that the building was deteriorating and that Gigglebee's would benefit greatly from a better building. On July 3rd of 2008, the business was officially closed without anyone having bought the business.[30]


In September the Gigglebees Assets were given to Grafe Auction Co to be auctioned off on October 9th at 10:30am.[31] Townsfolk of Sioux Falls were saddened to see Wilbur go and hoped Wilbur would be donated so that they could continue going around town.[32][33] The auction was then delayed for 2 weeks and was then held on October 25th due to large crowds being expected.[34][35]

On the day of the auction, one attendees was a realtor named George Hahn who bought the name, trademark, robots, and promotional items from the store for 5 thousand dollars.[36] He explained that he had the plan of reopening Gigglebee's in 2009, but unfortunately this did not happen.[37] In 2009 Stencil Corp announced they would also try to bring Gigglebee's back.[38] Unfortunately this plan didn't seem to get very far as in 2011 Stencil Corp's hold on the property was bought by First Midwest Bank and the plot was then converted into an office space and a bank.[39]

Peppy's Pizza

During the start of the decline of Gigglebee's in Sioux Falls, Galaxy Enterprises started charging large royalties for the Gigglebee's name, causing Al and Val in Rapid City to sell their franchise to someone named Janet. Janet however wasn't able to keep the store afloat for long however and in late 2006 Al and Val took over Gigglebee's from her and rebranded it to Peppy's Pizza to split themselves off from Galaxy Enterprises, naming the restaurant after their resident mascot Peppy. The business then kept operating even long past Gigglebee's closed in 2008. However, by 2010 the business would start struggling. On August 16th, Al and Val reported they would be closing Peppy's when the lease expired on August 31st of 2015 with no plans to reopen.[40] Despite this, they would try to sell the business shortly before the closing date.[41] This didn't work out however and an auction was held in mid November to sell most of the location's assets.[42] The building itself would remain untouched until sometime after 2020.[43]

Track Stars

Around roughly May of 1987, a restaurant would open in Berkley Square Shopping Center in South Carolina by the name of Track Stars.[44] The restaurant was opened by James Wood and Bob Lawler, who was a brother-in-law of Robert Lawler from Pizza Peddler.[45] The location would feature 3 characters, those being Wilbur, Dilly, and Frieda. The location would also have bears in swinging chairs hanging above each table which were used as table markers. On June 24, 1993,[46] Track Stars would announce that it was moving to Summerville. Shortly after, on October 17 of 1993, the restaurant would close and sell their assets.[47]


While Wilbur was the main character of Gigglebee's, the restaurant had many characters over the years it would phase in and out.[48] Characters would often be reused with female and male aligning cosmetics, depending on the voice actors available at the time and given similar but different named. Most of the robots were likely made by The Robot Factory[49][50] with the exception of the new version of Wilbur built in 2019.


Wilbur the coyote was the face of Gigglebee's, and also the main server of pizza. There were at least 3 different animatronics of Wilbur. The first version resembled Wil E. Coyote and was made for the first robot-staffed Piccadilly Circus.[51] The next version was made for Sioux Falls by the Robot Factory.[52] Around June of 1991, this version of Wilbur would break down and a technician would be hired to fix them up, causing their appearance to noticeably change.[53][54] A final version of Wilbur appeared sometime before April 2019 that has the ability to blink.[55] Wilbur was present at every Gigglebee's adjacent location except for Peppy's Pizza.

Peppy / Pixie

Peppy was a dinosaur character called a pizzasaurus. They wore a striped shirt and brown pants. Pixie was their sister that used the same robot as Peppy, but instead of a striped shirt and brown pants they wore a dress, a bow, and a head tie. Their robot was used all the way from Rapid City's opening in 1994 to it's closing in 2015.[56] They were also the face of Peppy's Pizza.


Not much is currently known about this character, it's possible that it was another lion character.


Stella was a monster character similar in appearance to Oscar the Grouch.[5] They were very likely made by The Robot Factory.


This character was a raccoon character.[51] They were very likely made by The Robot Factory.

Dilly / Dolly

Dilly and Dolly were a lion characters. Dilly wore a red button up shirt and Dolly's cosmetics are currently unknown. They both shared the same robot.[57] The robot used for this was used up until at least 1993,[58] though there may have been an upgrade at some point.


Dexter was a bear character who wore a red shirt and a patterned apron.[59]

Rocky / Roxy

Rocky and Roxy were raccoon characters who likely used the same robot. Roxy is likely the character that shows up in the Gigglebee's commercial. The robot was used from roughly around 1993[58] to 2006.[60]

Jeremiah / Freida / Fred

Jeremiah was a bullfrog character, not much is currently known about them. Freida and Fred may have only been used at Track Stars, as no proof currently shows they were at Gigglebee's specifically.

Installed Locations

South Carolina

Goose Creek, SC (205 N Goose Creek Blvd Suite 101) as Track Stars

Offered a large arcade selection and bumper cars

Summerville, SC (Oakbrook Center, 10040 Dorchester Road) as Track Stars

Track Stars location after relocating on June 24, 1993. No longer had bumper cars.[61]

South Dakota

Sioux Falls, SD (519 S Minnesota Ave)

The original Gigglebee's. Some of the robot operators were:

Rapid City, SD (937 E North Street) later called Peppy's Pizza Arcade & Lazer

This was the only location franchised by Gigglebee's. This location renamed itself to Peppy's Pizza Arcade & Lazer sometime around 2008 to avoid paying huge royalties to Gigglebee's, and closed in 2015. According to Jason Garland, this was the only franchised Gigglebee's. Some of the robot operators were:

  • Jason Garland (2003 - 2010)
  • Joey Benington[65]
  • Timothy Wagner[66]


Columbia, MO (1729 W Broadway) as Piccadilly Circus

Opened on May 9th of 1986 and closed September of 1989. This location was also a Showbiz either before it was a Piccadilly Circus. Location may have had a bear mascot that rode a unicycle.[67]


Sioux City, IA (1951 Leech Ave) as Pizza Peddler

Location was located on the second floor of then KD Station, a meat packing plant turned entertainment and shopping center. Location also started offering delivery in late July of 2000.[68] First Piccadilly Circus franchise.

Fort Dodge IA (614 Second Ave S) as Piccadilly Circus - Nothing is currently known about this location other than most of it was burned down on December 4th of 1985[9] and that they had plans to reopen. The building still stands however.

Milford IA, (1007 Okoboji Ave) as the Piccadilly Circus Pizza Inc. Corporate Office[4][69]

Des Moines / Waukee as Piccadilly Circus (Unconfirmed)

Paulina as Piccadilly Circus (Unconfirmed)

Current Whereabouts


Picture of Wilbur taken in December of 2023 at The Foster Network

After the restaurant's closing in 2008, an auction was held and Wilbur was sold to George Hahn. Wilbur would disappear for a while before returning in 2017, on a radio show to announce his return.[70] At this time Wilbur's robot was the same one used at Gigglebee's.

In 2019 Wilbur would also make a comeback as a new robot that was made by Gavin Wigg with a sponsorship from Giving Hope Inc.[71] After this, Wilbur would show up around town from time to time for events like conventions, charities, parties, and more. To this day, Wilbur is seen as a local celebrity and can still be seen around town attending events.

Rapid City's Wilbur robot would make an appearance at a foster home in late 2023,[72] however the actual owner of the bot is currently unknown.


  • At Rapid City the staff called Wilbur "Wilbur the Crazy Coyote"
  • Randy Hindbjorgen's brother, Dan Hindbjorgen, was the robot operator for Wilbur and Dilly when the Sioux Falls location first opened.[8]
  • Due to a rough past, the Sioux Falls location would adopt a strong No Loitering policy and wouldn't allow people to stand around the restaurant. [8]
  • On October 17th of 1987, Wilbur was a judge of the jack-o-lantern contest in Sioux Falls.[73]
  • Gigglebee's in Sioux Fall's popularity was likely largely due to Wilbur's presence in the town. He would often attend events,[74] help with PSAs,[75] help at charities, and even participated in Make A Wish.[76]
  • Despite switching their Wilbur animatronic at some point, Pizza Peddler continued to draw Wilbur similar to Wil E Coyote up until its closing.
  • After Pizza Peddler's closing, the head of Wilbur may have ended up at the WITT Theatre Department[77]
  • Gigglebee's was one of the first restaurants in Sioux Falls to ban smoking at it's establishment, banning it in 1988.[56]
  • Around 1995, South Dakota was considering changing their state animal to a bison from a coyote. Many people in Sioux Falls opposed this idea because of Gigglebee's.[78]
  • On February 8, 1995, Gigglebee's in Rapid City started a promotion of giving free tokens for good grades.[79]
  • After the closing of Sioux Fall's Gigglebees, Randy Hindbjorgen would go on to run a sandwich shop.[80]
  • At Sioux Falls, Wilbur's Birthday is July 26, 1986.
  • At River City, Wilbur's Birthday is "Octember 33rd", and he is always seven years old.
  • In late 2000, Gigglebee's would make a website that would inform customers about their business.[81] The website is down today but you can visit that website on the Internet Archive. The website would stay up until early May of 2006.
  • Randy Hindbjorgen used his company Galaxy Enterprise Inc to run another animatronic pizza place in Sioux Falls called Rockin Rollies.
  • In 2021 a comic was written starring Wilbur[82]
  • Gigglebee's was briefly mentioned in an article in Canada.[83]
  • Gigglebee's in Sioux Falls held a New Years celebration for children throughout most of it's operating time where they would set the clock 4 hours ahead so that New Years could be celebrated at 8pm.
  • At Rapid Falls, every bot operator signed the walls in the bot room.
  • When Rapid Fall's Gigglebee's was turned into Peppy's Pizza, there was a lot of animosity that came from the then store owner. Towards the end of the store becoming Peppy's Pizza this owner attempted to sabotage the store, sabotaging the laser tag and slashing the new owner's tires.
  • In May of 2008 an interview was held at Peppy's Pizza where Al and Val talked about a time that a truck drove through the window of their store.[65]


Link Description Filming Date
Link Wilbur announces his return to Sioux Falls on the KSOO AM Radio May 31, 2017
Link Advertisement for Gigglebee's, also shows Roxy Raccoon in it. Early 90s
Link Video of a guest holding a conversation with Wilbur February 4, 2006
Link Wilbur sings Happy Birthday to a guest. February 4, 2006
Link Wilbur tries to figure out whose food he has. February 4, 2006
Link Wilbur makes an appearance at Argus Leader to talk about what he's been up to, likely shortly after conversion to his V3 animatronic.[84] July 18, 2019
Link Video of some people visiting Gigglebee's. 2005
Link Wilbur singing Happy Birthday at Rapid City. Unknown
Link George Hahn announces his plans to bring back Gigglebee's in the future March 6, 2012
Link Video with Gigglebee's auction going on in the background October 25, 2008[35]
Link One of the Ad artists makes an art piece of Wilbur to demonstrate how he used to draw Wilbur. February 21, 2017
Link Video of Wilbur having a conversation with guests in 1996. November 17, 1996
Link Rapid City Wilbur's Birthday Script May 28, 2024



  4. 4.0 4.1
  5. 5.0 5.1
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3
  9. 9.0 9.1
  35. 35.0 35.1
  44. May 14, 1987 ad in the Evening Post, Charleston, S.C.
  45. June 25, 1987 article in The Evening Post, Charleston, S.C.
  46. Kidbits announcement in the June 24, 1993 edition of the Post and Courier
  47. Oct. 17, 1993 edition of the Post & Courier
  51. 51.0 51.1
  56. 56.0 56.1
  58. 58.0 58.1
  65. 65.0 65.1
  77. 77.0 77.1