Chuck E. Cheese parent company to close 34 locations permanently: Is your location on the store closings list?
Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY
Published 9:03 a.m. ET June 26, 2020 | Updated 12:31 p.m. ET June 26, 2020
Chuck E. Cheese restaurants have left some GrubHub customers feeling duped. Chuck E. Cheese uses Pasqually's Pizza & Wings on GrubHub to deliver food.
All those Chuck E. Cheese tokens and tickets you’ve been hoarding are still good for now, but you might not have a local Chuck E. Cheese where you can use them anymore.
CEC Entertainment, the parent company of the entertainment-and-pizza venue geared toward kids, plans to permanently close about 34 locations that were still open when the coronavirus pandemic began.
The company, which owns the Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza chains, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late Wednesday.
Late Thursday, the company filed a list of about 45 leases it plans to reject, including five in California, four in Florida, four in Massachusetts, three in Ohio and three in Oklahoma. The list included 11 locations that had already closed before COVID-19. (See below for the full list.)
CEC also requested a judge’s permission to continue to honor game credits, tickets, tokens, gift cards, customer deposits, discount offers and loyalty accounts, as long as the company remains in business. The company has said it hopes to use the Chapter 11 process to shed debt and emerge as a more sustainable operation.
With more than 15,000 employees, the Irving, Texas-based company had 555 company-owned locations and 186 franchisee locations spanning 47 states and 16 foreign countries or U.S. territories as of Dec. 29.
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CEC, which is owned by private equity firm Apollo Global Management, posted revenue of $913 million and a net loss of $29 million in 2019, according to a court filing. Reserved birthday packages made up about 16% of the company’s revenue in 2019.
Founded in 1977, Chuck E. Cheese makes up a majority of the company’s business. Each location has about 75 games, rides and attractions, including classics like Skee-Ball, Whac-A-Mole and arcade basketball. The chain also serves a menu of pizza, wings, desserts and drinks, including alcoholic beverages at most of its sites. Visitors are serenaded by the brand’s eponymous mouse mascot.
A sign is posted in front of a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant on January 16, 2014 in Newark, California. (Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)
Apollo took the company private in 2014 through a leveraged buyout that left it with substantial debt.
With its venues temporarily closed due to COVID-19, the company lost more than 90% of its revenue despite efforts to ramp up food delivery and takeout. During that period, the company got behind on its rent at hundreds of locations, according to a court filing.
“In ordinary times, the company would be financially sound,” CEC Chief Financial Officer James Howell said in the court document.
In a separate court filing, CEC listed the leases it plans to reject. This list includes 11 venues that had already permanently closed before COVID-19. It was not immediately clear which locations had done so.
Here’s the full list of Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza leases that CEC Entertainment has requested court permission to reject:
- Ladera HeightsSan BernardinoEl MonteLong BeachDiamond Bar
- Grand JunctionFort Collins
- Green AcresMiami GardensNorth LauderdaleMiami
- Chicago-MattesonVernon Hills
- Sioux City
- Las Vegas-McCarranLas Vegas-Saraha
- Alb-Juan Tabo
- New HartfordHarlem
- Oklahoma City-Del CityOklahoma City-WestgateMoore
- Rapid City