NEW YORK. Chuck E Cheese, the restaurant chain that became a mecca for children and a melting pot for many of their parents, is filing for bankruptcy protection.
CEC Entertainment Inc. has reopened 266 of its 612 company-operated Chuck E Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza restaurants, but did not elaborate on how willing parents are to again host birthday parties and other gatherings with so many cities still under strict crowd restrictions.
The company said Thursday that it will continue to reopen locations while negotiating with debt and lease holders.
"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," CEO David McKillips said in a prepared statement.
The service industry, which includes restaurants, has been devastated by the pandemic. This month, the Institute for Supply Management reported that the sector contracted for the second month in May. Restaurants that can offer takeout have done so, but those who depend on dinner, like Chuck E Cheese, have been hit hard.
People go to Chuck E Cheese to let kids lose dozens of video machines and Skee-Ball and other games. At one point, perhaps acknowledging its downside, some Chuck E Cheese locations began offering food delivery on apps like Grubhub under the alias "Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings."