Photo by David Minton

By Alex Gallagher | January 21, 2022

Customers at Valleywide Peter Piper Pizza may have already noticed a substantial change in the chain’s “game on” arcades. 

Gone are the days of going to a cashier to buy tokens.

Instead, customers can purchase reloadable token cards called “funpasses” and reload them, check the balance and pause the card at a kiosk within the arcade.

Additionally, the funpass can be used like a debit card for customers to cash in their tickets earned while playing games for prizes. 

“We know that our guests like playing in our ‘game on’ area, and as the time evolved, our games evolved as well,” says Genaro Perez, vice president of marketing for Peter Piper Pizza.

While technology has rapidly evolved over the past few decades, something other than tech that forced Peter Piper Pizza to rethink its bartering system within its arcades. 

When locations were forced to close its doors during the pandemic, the company wanted the arcades to function in a way that minimized lines at the cash register and kept people from sharing reusable tokens and paper tickets. 

It was then that the company decided to go with the new format of tap-to-play cards and kiosks for customers to manage their “funpasses.” 

“When we saw the technology opportunity, we said this is a perfect fit for the brand,” Perez says. “We always want to be at the forefront of technology but it’s also about convenience because we are a solution for families that are looking for a good place to have a great meal.” 

With the new idea in mind, the company utilized the shutdown to transition its games at one of its Scottsdale locations to the “funpass” system to test how customers responded. 

“We tested this at our Scottsdale restaurant and we saw great results,” Perez says. “Not only were people very pleased with the efficiency, but we also saw that gaming time increased by 23% because instead of counting tickets people were spending their time playing.” 

It has also eliminated the age-old dispute as to whose tickets are whose. 

 “The best part of this is it eliminates the frustration of losing paper tickets or fighting over whose tickets are whose. It’s very easy to use.”

Because of this, not only have customers spent more time in the arcade, but Perez has also noted that there have been shorter lines at the pick-up counter. 

“We have also had positive feedback from our employees because this alleviates the line since people are now lining up to order food instead of ordering food and buying tokens. Now the gaming takes care of itself,” he says.

While this system has been beneficial for families looking to enjoy a meal and create fun memories, it has seen the most success with birthday parties. 

“This is really able to improve the experience for our guests, especially those who host their birthday parties with us,” Perez says. “This is a perfect way to give away time or points for kids to play.” 

With rave reviews among customers and staff alike, Peter Piper Pizza began rolling out the system to each of its restaurants across the Valley. 

“This became a no-brainer that we should launch these across the whole system,” Perez says. 

All “game on” arcades within Peter Piper Pizza locations are operating on the “funpass” system and the company plans to begin updating its restaurants in Tucson within the coming months with the goal of having all locations nationwide operating on the “funpass” system by the end of the year. 

Perez also says the brand could possibly launch wristbands instead of cards for customers to use to play games and earn playtime soon. 

The arcade is not the only part of the restaurant that has seen an upgrade: Its website also has been freshened. 

“We have also updated our website to create a more seamless online ordering experience and a place where people can make a reservation for a birthday party,” Perez says. 

For the chain that has been in business for nearly five decades, the goal is always to create a welcoming and guest friendly environment. 

“We’re trying to make it easier and convenient for guests to visit us at Peter Piper Pizza,” Perez says.

For more information, visit peterpiperpizza.com.