Chuck E. Cheese Files for Bankruptcy after 43 Years of Business

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, family-friendly pizza and arcade chain Chuck E. Cheese submitted to the financial strain and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday.

With the coronavirus pandemic still very much an issue in many states across the country, another business has succumbed to current economic hardships. The family-oriented arcade and pizzeria Chuck E. Cheese has officially filed for bankruptcy. They had been operating for 43 years, with the first-ever Chuck E. Cheese opening in 1977 in San Jose, CA.

Their parent company, CEC Entertainment, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday. The company claimed over $1 billion in liabilities and had a laundry list of debtors. The individually owned franchises within the company are reportedly “not” included in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In a statement, CEC Entertainment claimed the prolonged shutdown of their restaurants due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic created too much of a financial strain.

The CEC chief executive officer, David Killips had this to say:

“The Chapter 11 process will allow us to strengthen our financial structure as we recover from what has undoubtedly been the most challenging event in our Company’s history and get back to the business of delivering memories, entertainment, and pizzas for another 40 years and beyond.”

The same day they filed for bankruptcy, Chuck E. Cheese opened nearly half of its locations in accordance to current COVID-19 guidelines. The rest of the total 734 locations will continue to reopen. There will be strict precautions and guidelines taken to ensure the health and safety of their customers in the coming months. Many locations are under negotiations to open due to millions owed in deferred rental payments.

It seems like Chuck E. Cheese can’t catch a break. Just a couple weeks before filing for bankruptcy, they were recently were catching some flack for listing their business as “Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings” under multiple food delivery apps as a ploy to increase business during the nationwide shutdowns. The executives at CEC were not wrong when they assumed that people wouldn’t immediately think “Chuck E. Cheese” when ordering delivery.

Chuck E. Cheese Through The Years:

CEC Entertainment will be rethinking their business strategy going forward. Due to only being able to operate as delivery, many of the locations had to furlough employees and drastically reduce spending budgets.

The future is unknown for Chuck E. Cheese, as no one is exactly eager to have a birthday there (or anywhere) anytime soon. But if it truly is “where a kid can be a kid,” there may just be hope for them yet.

[Source: Variety]