Chances are if you have kids you have been to a Chuck E Cheese. The children’s entertainment center features an animatronic mouse and pizza. The combination is hard to forget.
Nolan Bushnell, an Atari co-founder, established Chuck E Cheese in 1977 in San Jose, California. Each Chuck E Cheese franchise offers restaurant pizza, children’s arcade games, amusement rides, and character stage shows featuring the Chuck E Cheese mascot.
Chuck E Cheese is the first family restaurant to integrate food, kids’ games, and entertainment in one joint. The restaurant entertainment center is famous for hosting children’s birthday parties.
But is Chuck E Cheese closing? As of now, the rumors of Chuck E Cheese closing are not entirely unfounded.
In fact, the company faces financial hardships that may lead to the official closing of Chuck E Cheese. However, the company has not officially closed yet. Read on to gain insight on the intricacies of Chuck E Cheese possibly closing.
So, Is Chuck E Cheese Actually Closing?
No, Chuck E Cheese is not closing, but the rumors are not unfounded at all.
The company’s revenue has gradually decreased since 2012. After the Covid-19 pandemic, Chuck E Cheese suffered even more.
In response to the severe decrease in revenue during 2012, the company announced a rebranding campaign that offered very little success. Instead of a rat mascot, the rebrand showcased Chuck E Cheese as a guitar-playing mouse.
Throughout the following year, in-store restaurant sales continued to go down. However, box office and merchandising revenue slightly increased.
In 2017, the company rebranded again in several locations under the new name “Chuck E Cheese Pizzeria & Games.” The rebrand offered more muted, upscale decor, an open kitchen, and a play pass card system.
The animatronic stage show featured a dance floor. The rebrand goal was to appeal more towards adults and less towards hosting kids’ parties.
In 2019, Chuck E Cheese suffered in the stock market and ceased to have animatronic animals as part of the entertainment.
Where Did These Rumors Come From?
The rumors came from public knowledge that Chuck E Cheese has been in decline since 2012. The company also has several failed rebrands under its belt—a bad look for any company.
Not to mention, the stock market has been incredibly critical of Chuck E Cheese within the last decade. The worst part of the rumors came after the company experienced a financial crisis and bankruptcy in 2020.
Additionally, the hashtag #what’snextforchuckecheese trended for a while on the internet due to so many closings.
To make matters worse for Chuck E Cheese, the Covid-19 pandemic had a detrimental impact on the company. The pandemic caused the enterprise to be an estimated 1-2 billion dollars in debt.
The amount of debt was so high that all Chuck E Cheese franchises would have been forced to close if bankruptcy failed.
The company was able to receive 200 million dollars in loans to refinance and restructure the Chuck E Cheese under bankruptcy protection.
On June 25, 2020, the company filed a voluntary petition under chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy court.
Will It Close in the Future?
There is a good chance that Chuck E Cheese will close in the future. During the pandemic, Chuck E Cheese permanently closed 47 locations across the country. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, Chuck E Cheese closed over 30 locations.
In terms of the business side, bankruptcy is never a good sign. Additionally, no other company wants to buy out Chuck E Cheese completely, which is an indicator that the company will close in the future.
Chuck E Cheese generated the most revenue from kids’ birthday parties. After the pandemic required guest and social distancing restrictions, the company suffered.
Since the coronavirus will not go away anytime soon, the company’s birthday party revenue will likely continue to decline
Other Restaurant Closings
Other restaurants similar in audience and structure have already been bought out due to company struggle, such as Peter Piper Pizza.
Like Chuck E Cheese, Peter Piper Pizza features a game room and dining area.
The company also sought to target parents with young children.
Peter Piper Pizza struggled financially and needed a buy-out. In fact, back in 2014, Chuck E Cheese bought out their Peter Piper Pizza competitor. Now, both companies will likely officially go under.
Other restaurants have also struggled over the last two years, with spots like Old Country Buffet closing many doors, IHOP losing locations, and more.
So, is Chuck E Cheese closing? As of right now, Chuck E Cheese remains in business. However, plenty of evidence exists that indicates the company will likely cease to exist shortly.
Chuck E Cheese had been struggling 8 years before the pandemic, and in 2020, the company was pushed to the edge and had to file bankruptcy.
The only way Chuck E Cheese will survive is if the company gets bought out by a larger company. Since the company had been going under for years, it is highly unlikely that any other business firm will buy out the family entertainment center.
If you have a Chuck E Cheese near you that is still open, enjoy it while you can! You will probably not be able to much longer.