Founded in 1985, California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) is a leading casual dining chain featuring hearth-baked pizzas, including the original BBQ Chicken Pizza, and a broad selection of pastas, salads, appetizers, soups, sandwiches and desserts. CPK premium pizzas are also available to sports and entertainment fans at three Southern California venues including Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium of Anaheim and STAPLES Center. The company also has a licensing arrangement with Nestle S.A. to manufacture and distribute a line of California Pizza Kitchen premium frozen products.

Positive Themes

The dominant positive theme by far is “good food,” which accounts for more than half the sound bites.

  • I adore California Pizza Kitchen. I love their salads. I love their shrimp scampi pizza. (source)
  • California pizza kitchen has awesome crab cakes. They serve it with asparagus and a choice of wok veggies or pasta with lemon/caper sauce. I usually eat the crab cakes and 1/2 the asparagus in the restaurant, and then choose the pasta and pack it up for a different day. (source)
  • California pizza kitchen is my new favorite place to eat. The pesto chicken pizza was AMAZING!! (source)
  • California Pizza Kitchen has the best jambalaya!!! (source)

Consumers also praise CPK for its wide selection of dishes.

  • Junior’s is great for breakfast, but can be on the pricey side. Scorpion Bar has the best nachos I’ve ever had. I’m a huge fan of California Pizza Kitchen. They have a lot of different dishes that are surprisingly good. Besides the pizza, I love the Avacado Egg Rolls and Sedona Tortilla Soup. (source)

Consumers like to save money, so they like CPK’s coupon program.

  • If you have a computer and internet connection you can easily print free grocery coupons directly from your computer. California Pizza Kitchen coupons are very popular because the restaurant chain is so widely used and is high on everyone’s shopping list. They give you a great discount off the full price. To use coupons all you have to do is print them from your computer and take them along to your local California Pizza Kitchen. (source)

Negative Themes

The flip side of the “good food” positive theme is the “nasty food” negative theme. But the percentage of sound bites reflecting that negative sentiment (26) is less than half that on the positive side (56).

  • I didn’t have dinner at the hotel but ate a few times in some restaurants in the Copley and Prudential Centre. Legal Seafood- pretty good for a chain-type restaurant, nice atmosphere, great service and decent seafood. California Pizza Kitchen- give this a miss- worst pizza I’ve ever eaten. PF Chang’s China Bistro- not bad, not great. There were several good restaurants just outside the hotel as well. (source)
  • Before heading home we had some of a California Pizza Kitchen Garlic Chicken Pizza, about a servings worth which they estimate to be 240 calories and I kind of dont believe it because it was so greasy. (source)

“Pricey” was the second most common negative comment.

  • California Pizza Kitchen is overrated and overpriced. I’d rather have Pizza Hut. (source)

But many posters echoed this pricey-but-good sentiment.

  • CPK is my favorite pizza restaurant but it’s quite expensive so i rarely get to go but when i do go i cherish evry bite lol. (source)

One unusual criticism was that CPK has prohibited gun owners from openly carrying firearms in their restaurants.


Consumers eat a lot of pizza and have strong opinions about it. Although “nasty food” was the biggest negative theme, “good food” was far bigger, so CPK is clearly delivering food the majority of its customers like. Customers liked the quality of a wide variety of items—pizza, salad, pasta, chicken, fish tacos, cake—and liked the size of the selection.

The price issue always comes up, with 18 percent of sound bites citing “pricey” while 5 percent cited “affordable.” This may be a case where individuals who found CPK affordable did not comment on prices, while those who found it expensive did.

Regarding the gun issue, that was a story that was picked up by mainstream media outlets (Bay Area News Group, San Jose, Portland, which may have exaggerated its importance (17 percent) as a negative theme.

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