The game could be over for a number of Chuck E. Cheese locations across the country.
A new report from the Wall Street Journal claimed that the gaming and pizza chain is on the brink of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to the impact of the coronavirus. The report said that the parent company of the chain, CEC Entertainment Inc., has accrued debt of close to $1 billion and is working on securing $200 million in loans.
The report noted that there are currently 615 Chuck E. Cheese locations around the world and that some could be at risk of closing down permanently. Many locations that closed after states put stay-at-home orders in place and told non-essential businesses to close have not yet reopened.
The company had already come under close scrutiny after keeping its kitchen open during the coronavirus and selling take-out pizza and wings, all while operating under a different name. As the New York Post reported, many customers reported seeing the name Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings on delivery apps like GrubHub, not realizing that it was really Chuck E. Cheese selling food under the name of the fictional pizzeria where the Chuck E. Cheese character live, according to the company’s lore.
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 the company’s method of sneaking onto delivery apps to be quite clever.
The company responded to earlier reports of its shift to delivery and take-out pizza and wings, noting that it was using a different recipe for the to-go menus.
“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.”
A number of well-known brands have encountered financial difficulties as the coronavirus forced non-essential businesses to close for months. As The Inquisitr reported, some economic experts predicted that a number of retail businesses will likely close for good in the wake of the pandemic, especially those that had already been hit hard by the changing business landscape and the rise of internet retail.