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Chuck E. Cheese Considering Bankruptcy, May Shutter, Reports Say

Chuck E. Cheese in Edison
Chuck E. Cheese in Edison Photo Credit: Google Maps (Street View)

The future of Chuck E. Cheese is up in the air after its parent organization acquired nearly $1 billion in debt due to the COVID-10 pandemic, reports say.

The children’s food and entertainment center chain’s owner, CEC Entertainment, is asking lenders for a loan of $200 million to stay in business, reports.

Bonuses were offered to the chain’s top executives Friday, June 5 in an effort to retain the employees amid temporary closures, the report said.

The chain, which is based in Texas, opened in 1977 and as the pandemic struck had to shut down operations at each of its 610 locations throughout 47 states -- 13 in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, CEC agreed to pay a combined $3 million to three of the company’s execs. CEO David McKillips is on track to receive $1.3 million, reports showed.

The brand began considering bankruptcy and other financial restructuring options in April as the effects of the pandemic first emerged.

In another effort to keep up revenue streams, the chain sold its food on popular delivery apps, calling itself “Pasqually’s Pizza and Wings,” borrowing the name from one of the animatronic band members, reports said.

An estimated 17,000 of the chain’s workers had been laid off in March, with some employees retained for the purpose of filling takeout and delivery orders.

Chuck E. Cheese is far from the first chain to experience financial difficulties amid the pandemic. Permanent closures at certain TGI Fridays, Denny’s, IHOP, Ruby Tuesday, Steak ’n Shake and more are already underway.

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