Alas, poor Charles Entertainment Cheese. Better known to his friends (as well as beleaguered parents and disaffected teens who have to go somewhere to play House of the Dead and Dance Dance Revolution now that regular arcades are so hard to come by) as Chuck E. Cheese, the animatronic, pizza-slinging rat and his crew of similarly horrifying buddies have found themselves in a bit of financial hot water thanks to the COVID-19 quarantine. After 43 years of business, the arcade-restaurant where “kids can be kids” has filed for bankruptcy according to The Boston Globe.
This doesn’t necessarily mean every one of Charles’s 734 restaurants around the globe will be shutting down for good. CEO David McKillips has stated that “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.”
The COVID-19 related shutdowns have been so challenging, in fact, that some Chuck E. Cheese storefronts began trying to offer delivery via GrubHub and other delivery apps under an alias–Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings. Pasqually being, of course, Pasqually P. Pieplate, one of the many mascot characters part of the extended Chuck E. Cheese universe (he’s just a pizza chef and a drummer, not one of the anthropomorphic animals).
With any luck we’ll continue to see such creative measures being taken by the company to ensure its survival. After all, horror-adjacent animatronics are still very much en vogue thanks to the massively popular Five Nights At Freddy’s franchise–who knows, maybe the future of child-friendly pizza-arcades lies in the haunted house industry. “Where a kid can be absolutely terrified” may not be as catchy as “where a kid can be a kid” but it’s certainly got a ring to it.
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