Chuck E. Cheese has found a way to stay open during the coronavirus crisis, but not all customers are pleased about it.
The pizza-centered entertainment chain has closed the majority of its stores as states issued stay-at-home orders and closed all non-essential businesses, but the kitchens are still open and selling food on delivery apps under a very different name -- Pasqually's Pizza & Wings. As the New York Post reported, customers have reported seeing that name on delivery apps like GrubHub, not realizing it was really the entertainment and gaming chain. Many have taken to social media to complain, feeling duped.
Those who frequent the chain may have recognized the new name from the fictional pizzeria that makes up the decor inside Chuck E. Cheese locations. As the New York Post noted, the Chuck E. Cheese character has an official backstory in the company's lore -- he was an orphaned mouse that moved to New York City and made a home above a pizzeria run by an Italian chef named Pasqually. The chef discovered Chuck's singing abilities and employed him as a performer at Pasqually's Pizza & Wings.
Though it was first reported weeks ago that Chuck E. Cheese was selling pizza and other foods, it gained viral attention on Monday after a tweet alerted people to the misnamed pizzeria. This drew some pushback from those who saw the tactic as underhanded and were not pleased with the quality of the pizza served inside the chain.
Others said they didn't fault the brand for trying to stay open -- and find a way to keep at least some of their employees working -- during the coronavirus crisis. Some even found it clever for the company to sneak onto delivery apps.The company has already addressed customer complaints, issuing a statement to Food & Wine for a story in April, saying that it was actually using a different recipe than ones normally sold in the establishment -- making it something closer to traditional take-out. The company also noted that not all items were on the delivery menu. "Pasqually's Pizza & Wings' recipes use fresh, homemade pizza dough, just like Chuck E. Cheese, but it is a different pizza that features a thicker crust and extra sauce, giving consumers a more flavorful, more premium pizza experience," a spokesperson said. "While Pasqually's Pizza & Wings recipes are currently only available for delivery, select items might be added to the Chuck E. Cheese menu in the future."