Chuck E Cheese – the ubiquitous, 43-year-old pizza/video game emporium “where a kid can be a kid” – is filing for bankruptcy protection, saying the prolonged closure of so many venues due to coronavirus restrictions has taken a bite out of their business.
In its bankruptcy petition, CEC listed $2 billion in debt and $1.7 billion in liabilities.
CEC David McKillips issued a statement calling the pandemic “the most challenging event in our company’s history” and said the company hopes to “get back to the business of delivering memories, entertainment and pizzas for another 40 years and beyond.”
Chuck E. Cheese got its start in 1977, when Atari cofounder Nolan Bushnell opened Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre in San Jose, California. The restaurant featured a cast of animatronic characters led by Chuck E. Cheese, a plucky rat in a bowler hat that was later rebranded as a mouse. “Where a kid can be a kid,” the chain promised in its tag line.
They now join rental car company Hertz and retailers J.Crew, Neiman Marcus and J.C. Penney to file for bankruptcy due COVID-19.