PTT Training Center & Test Kitchen

From Cheese-E-Pedia

Promotional photo for the test kitchen from the PTT 1982 Annual Report[1]

The PTT Training Center & Test Kitchen was a set of programs starting in December of 1981 at the San Jose, CA (2445 Fontaine Rd) location, which ended sometime in 1984.[2]

The Training Center would be the first place employees could have proper official training, as no training videos, documents, or programs were present at Pizza Time Theatre stores outside of store guidelines and what a store manager would be told when attending the PTT Management Training Program.

The Test Kitchen would be the first food product research lab used by the company. It would be used for new products, evaluating old products, standardizing distribution for stores, and later bringing in franchisee input for regionalization of selected products.

Both programs would work closely with each other due to their relating fields, allowing further assistance and demonstration.


The programs would take place entirely within the third floor employee section located on the north-west corner of the Tully store[3]. On page 26 of the store's blueprints, the layout of the offices is shown.

When entering the upper floor from the stairway (the elevator was used for freight hauling exclusively), the main office will be entered. This is presumed to be the stated study and audio visual lab of the training center. All adjacent rooms are the individual classrooms for training, with the farthest north-west room being the test kitchen. The training conference room would be located back on the second floor, labeled #53 on page 30 of the blueprints.


Wardrobe Department signage in Tully's 3rd floor.

Adorning the upper floor was a large amount of custom, hand painted Pizza Time Theatre signage, sent from a Wardrobe Department[4] of presumably the Pizza Time Theatre Milpitas, CA Cyberamic Manufacturing Center. It is unclear if this signage was sent during the store's opening, or if this later added to the training area. This includes:

  • Madame Oink, Jasper, & Pasqually eating at a table
  • Dolli Dimples putting on makeup
  • An Angry Chuck (Likely part of a bigger piece)
  • The King next to some sketches
  • Robots building Cyberamic Chuck E.'s
  • The Warblettes pushing a button on a machine (Likely part of a bigger piece)
  • Mr. Munch opening a cabinet full of birds
  • Chuck E. posing with various animated mice, including Mickey Mouse

Training Center Material

Only three training tapes are known to have been made for training, though likely more were made.

Any other training material, such as documents and other supplementary material for the classrooms, have not surfaced at all.

Test Kitchen Studies

The Test Kitchen would be the starting ground for the standardization of previous menu items, alongside making new ones. It is unclear if all menu items in 1982 and beyond came exclusively from use in the Test Kitchen, but certain changes are confirmed.

Ingredient & Preparation Changes

By June of 1982, a variety of ingredients for existing products would be reevaluated and changed up. These would be listed as meats, salad bar condiments, salad dressings, sandwich breads, dough mixes, tomato products, and pizza spices[5]. Changes to the preparation methods for previous products are also listed, though it is unclear what exactly what changed in the standardization process.

Salad Bar Program

Promotional Photo of the New Salad Bar.[6]

Starting in June of 1982, a new Salad Bar program, complete with an eighty-page manual, would be tested in the North Bay district after development in the Test Kitchen. This would be done to maximize consistency and presentation of the salad bar. The new bar would include 25-40 ingredients depending on the store size, alongside new small wares and bowls. The manual detailed layouts, ingredients, small wares, and other preparation with step by step instructions and pictures. The new program also emphasized awareness on purchasing and preparing fresh produce.

During its extensive testing, increases in salad sales and reductions in costs were noted. A new character would be introduced to promote the salad bar program as it made its way to all stores, being Roy L. Rabbit. This rollout to all stores would be planned to start in January of 1983, but was delayed to February, and wrapped up by the summer.[7][8]

CEC Birthday Cake

The Chuck E. Cheese Birthday Cake would be introduced through the Test Kitchen program alongside the 1982 Chuck E. Cheese Birthday Party Package in the summer of 1982. This would be the first ever CEC branded cake to appear in stores, alongside the new birthday package combining the previous 1981 Chuck E. Cheese's and Jasper T. Jowl's Birthday Packages.

Regionalized Products

Regionalized pizza products are noted multiple times in the Test Kitchen's production, though it is unclear what changes were made across the US. The only regionalized product noted is the Hawaii location's Saimin offer.[5]

Children's Drink Programs

Children's drink programs are also noted as an ongoing development by 1982, though currently it is unclear what this is referring to or if it ever made to market.

Lunch Entrées

Lunch entrées are another vague item noted as one of the things being worked on in 1982. The only entrée to fit the criteria would be the Chicken In A Basket item the came out in 1983.[5]

Private Label Food Program

Additional standardization of menu ingredients would be made by making deals with private food distributors to have ingredients purchased in bulk and distributed around the country, allowing more stores to offer the same menu items where they previously did not have the resources to. This would be listed with two ingredients, "Chuck E. Cheese All-Beef Hot Dogs" (used for the Kiddie Dog and Jasper's Giant Hot Dog), and "Chuck E. Cheese Italian Dry Salami" (used for Custom Pizza, Big C's Combo, and Mr. Munch's Submarine).[7]

Sundae Package

Referenced as early as June 1982, a "proprietary dessert concept" would be in the works at the Test Kitchen.[5] This would become the new sundae package to replace the previous Soft Frozen Yogurt menu item housed at stores. In early 1983 the new package would be sent to all stores, consisting of a new set of 3 sundae flavors in a universal cup design (Chocolate Sundae Cup, Butterscotch Sundae Cup, and Strawberry Sundae Cup). This cup also included a coin slot on the top lid, allowing it to be taken home and used as a PTT branded token bank.[9]


Test Kitchen w/ Food Standards Staff. Left to Right, Alyce Birdsall, Linda Sako, Jeanie Sorensen, Jan McGlliard, and Susan Bridwell[10]

Most of the staff and staffing positions for the programs are undocumented. The Training Center likely had an entire team of instructors, though they may have been part-time positions for current staff at the San Jose when training was needed.

The Test Kitchen Staff had the Product Research & Development team, with the only named employee being Jeanie Sorensen as the team's manager, presumably hired during its opening. The Test Kitchen staff worked closely with the Food Standards Department of Pizza Time Theatre, where several staff members have been named.[10]

  • Linda Sako, Director of Food Standards, and writer for the Test Kitchen's work in The Pizza Times newsletter.[10]
  • Jan McGalliard, Food Purchasing Coordinator, hired in 1982[10]
  • Alyce Birdsall, Associate Buyer, hired in 1982.[10]
  • Susan Bridwell, Food Standards Secretary, hired in 1981.[10]


The programs would cease sometime during the company merger with Showbiz Pizza Place in 1984, where the Arlington, TX (2216 S Fielder Rd) store would become the new main store for training. The third floor would be used exclusively as storage space from then on.