Pandemic takes a bite, Chuck E Cheese files for bankruptcy

Coronavirus
HICKSVILLE, NEW YORK - MARCH 18: An image of the sign for a Chuck E Cheese store as photographed on March 18, 2020 in Hicksville, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

HICKSVILLE, NEW YORK – MARCH 18: An image of the sign for a Chuck E Cheese store as photographed on March 18, 2020 in Hicksville, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Chuck E Cheese, the restaurant chain that became a Mecca for children and a crucible for many of their parents, is filing for bankruptcy protection.

The 43-year-old chain, which drew kids with pizza, video games and a singing mouse mascot, was struggling even before the coronavirus pandemic.

But it said the prolonged closure of many venues due to virus restrictions led to Thursday’s Chapter 11 filing.

Irving, Texas-based CEC Entertainment Inc. has reopened 266 company-operated Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza restaurants, but it’s unclear how willing parents will be to host birthday parties and other gatherings.

The company says it will continue to reopen locations and offer carryout while it negotiates with debt and lease holders. 

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