My Career-Changing Moment Reveals Chuck E. Cheese Founder, Dr. Gene Landrum


Dr. Gene Landrum, Ph.D. – Creator, Chuck E. Cheese Restaurant Concept

I have to tell you a story. I had written the functional specs for the first-ever cartridge-loaded video game in the world – the Atari 2600. And Bushnell, Nolan Bushnell, who invented video games, looked at me and said, “Boy, man, you are good at that. Will you write a biz plan on how to start a place where we can put lots of games around the country in places that serve food and beverage?” I write a business plan, he pays me a lot of money, and I submit it to the board of directors at Atari. And Bushnell looks at me when I finish my presentation and said, “Gene, great job. Tell you what I’ll do. I’ll make you president, I’ll give you a million bucks, go open one.” I said, “Are you kidding me? I would not hire me. I can’t boil water.” And he talked me into it, and that’s how Chuck E. Cheese came about. True story.